UT Tyler employed a football tactic to prevail in its first-ever basketball meeting with cross-town foe Texas College.
Dropping back into a prevent defense, UT Tyler forced Texas College into a long pass, resulting in a turnover on the final play to secure a 70-69 victory Monday at the Herrington Patriot Center.
Lauren Glasco intercepted Shirley McGowen’s inbounds from the far end to halt a valiant comeback from 14 points down by Texas College over the final 6:25.
“I let them line up and then I called timeout,” said UT Tyler coach Stasha Richards. “I told them we need to play it safe and behind them and have our girl on the ball play a little bit of a rover. What we didn’t want was for them to catch and dribble. They’re so quick, two or three dribbles they can get to halfcourt and have a chance at a great shot. It played into our hands them making a long pass. We got lucky there.”
Lindsey Hausmann and Melissa Thomas tallied 17 points each and combined for 14 assists to lead the Patriots (2-0). Glasco gave UT Tyler 15 points, with Afritina Anderson adding 13 points.
Texas College missed a free throw to tie the game and three shots inside the lane to go ahead in the final 20 seconds. The Lady Steers shot 37 percent for the game, failing to capitalize on the Patriots’ struggles at the free throw line, where the host hit on only 14 of 28 attempts.
“That was a heck of a game,” Texas College coach Jennifer Pillich said. “We fought to the end and improved tonight.”
TC benefited from 19 offensive rebounds to produce 18 second-chance points. The Lady Steers used an 8-0 run in a 71-second span to get within four points, with McGowen scoring the first four before Connie Espinas knocked down consecutive shots. TC never trailed by more than four from there, getting to within one on Ashli Smith’s two free throws with 1:22 showing.
Thomas drained a pair of free throws after a Smith foul on the inbound, increasing the Patriots’ edge to 70-67.
TC attacked the basket to make it a one-point game again when McGowen grabbed an offensive rebound, scored and drew a foul. McGowen misfired on the and-one, only to get two offensive rebounds and watch two off-balanced shots bounce off the rim.
UT Tyler later missed four free throws, giving TC a final crack with 3.6 seconds left. After TC called a timeout, UT Tyler signaled for one. TC attempted to heave a long pass, which floated into the hands of Glasco before the final seconds ticked off.
“We cannot focus on that last play,” Pillich said. “Had we made two more free throws, one more shot, we would’ve won.”
While coming up short, Pillich saw the game as a victory for the city of Tyler, with its two four-year colleges finally getting on the court.
“Playing another Tyler school, I love it because it shows the spirit of basketball in Tyler, Texas, “said Pillich. “Stasha is a great friend. She runs an awesome program. I’d like to see (this game) happen every year.”
Espinas netted 15 points to lead TC. McGowen, after watching the entire first half, sparked TC with 13 points. Keyara Criner contributed 11 points and nine rebounds for the Lady Steers (0-4). The Lady Steers played without starting small forward Adrian Davis to injury.
“Texas College is a good team,” Richards said. “They’re athletic. We had a tough time matching up with them but we found a way to win. My hat’s off to JJ (Pillich) and her team. I think they’ll do well in the Red River this year. Obviously it’s early for both us. We’re just lucky to get out with a win.”
UT Tyler 70, Texas College 69
At Herrington Patriot Center
TEXAS COLLEGE (0-4)-Myesha Carrington 1-4 0-0 2, Ashli Smith 3-13 3-6 9, Connie Espinas 6-13 0-0 15, Cherisa Sellers 2-5 0-0 4, Leslee Johnson 3-5 3-5 9, Keyara Criner 4-12 3-4 11, Shirley McGowen 4-6 5-8 13, Jessica Williams 0- 2 1-2 1, Sekeya Roberson 2-7 1-2 5. Totals 25-67 16-27 69.
UT TYLER (2-0)-Lindsey Hausmann 6-12 4-6 17, , Nicole Tucker 1-8 0-0 3, Melissa Thomas 5-12 5-6 17, Afritina Anderson 5-9 3-5 13, She’Cara Humphrey 0-0 0-0 0, Ally Allen 1-2 1-4 3, Alex Boyd 0-2 0-0 0, Shamiya Domino 1-1 0-5 2, Hillary Dunson 0-0 0-0 0, Lauren Glasco 7-9 1-2 15. Totals 26-55 14-28 70.
Halftime-UTT 29, TC 23. 3-Point Goals-TC 3-12 (Espinas 3-8, Smith 0-3, Criner 0-1), UTT 4-11 (Thomas 2-4, Hausmann 1-3, Tucker 1-3, Boyd 0-1). Fouled Out-Roberson. Rebounds-TC 43 (Criner 9), UTT 38 (Thomas 10). Assists-TC 15 (Roberson 5), UTT 20 (Thomas 8). Total Fouls-TC 23, UTT 20. Est. Att.-200.
Next Up-Texas College vs. Holy Names, 3 p.m. Thursday at Xavier University in New Orleans. UT Tyler at Hardin-Simmons, 1 p.m. Saturday.