Neither team led by more than five in a very tightly contested American Southwest Conference game on Monday night at Solheim Arena. Freshman Nate West dropped a career-high 23 points, 21 of which came in the second half to lead LeTourneau. The YellowJackets (4-4, 1-3 ASC) scored 17 points off turnovers and won the battle on the boards as they outrebounded the Cowboys 35-31, tying a season-high with 16 offensive rebounds.
“Both teams played excellent defense and unfortunately we came up on the short end of a close game,” said head coach Dan Miller <http://www.letuathletics.com/coaches.aspx?rc=436>. “The difference was at the free-throw line where they 20-of-24 to our 5-of-9.”
Caleb Loggins <http://www.letuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3310> scored nine points to go along with six rebounds. Caylab Herrera <http://www.letuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3325> and Alec Colhoff <http://www.letuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3307> each finished with seven points. Colhoff would also add eight boards to lead the YellowJackets.
LeTourneau was cold from beyond-the-arc in the first half as they shot just 1-of-12 from three-point range. The percentage would improve in the second half with 38.89 on 7-of-18 shooting. LETU also struggled with foul trouble as four YellowJackets ended with four personal fouls and 20 as a team.
Nate West <http://www.letuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3318> tipped-in a shot at the first half buzzer to secure a one-point lead at the break for the YellowJackets. LETU would come out to take their largest lead of the game on a Caylab Herrera <http://www.letuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3325> three-point field goal at the 17:52 mark.
West caught fire and hit two of his five long-range field goals and scored eight straight points to give the YellowJackets a 65-64 lead with 1:38 remaining. LETU wouldn’t score again, and the Cowboys knocked down free throws down the stretch to take the 65-69 victory.
“We had some good looks to tie in the closing seconds, and I have confidence in the guys to hit them the next time we are in that situation,” said Miller.
LeTourneau will be back in action on Saturday afternoon as they host Austin College in a non-conference showdown. The YellowJackets defeated the Roos 92-78 in their season-opener on November 15th in Sherman. Tip-off is 3:00 p.m. from Solheim Arena on Saturday.
LeTourneau trailed by as many as 17 in the first half, but the YellowJackets used a season-high 16 steals to spark a comeback over the visiting Cowgirls and improve to 4-4 overall and 3-1 in conference play. LETU used 18-second chance points and an incredible 37 points off turnovers to surge past HSU.
Crystal Jones led all scorers with 19 points and swiped six steals in her 37 minutes. The senior guard was named the ASC East Division Player of the Week after a 23-point performance against McMurry. This effort was the second consecutive Player of the Week nod for Jones.
LaTanya Drakes <http://www.letuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3364> struggled with foul trouble but was able to stay on the floor down the stretch in the second half to push the YellowJackets over the Cowgirls. Drakes scored all 14 of her points after the break and pulled down nine rebounds.
“I am very proud of the fight and control our team displayed tonight. Hardin-Simmons jumped out on us early, but we pulled together and worked our way back into the game,” said head coach Leslie Reinecker <http://www.letuathletics.com/coaches.aspx?rc=454> after the win. “We controlled the boards, and I was particularly happy with our composure down the stretch.”
The Cowgirls jumped out to a quick 13-4 lead before the first quarter media timeout. A Taylor Gaffney three-point field goal would push the lead to 13 at the end of the period.
The HSU lead would swell to 17 early in the second quarter before the YellowJackets scored 11 unanswered points punctuated by a Jada Roberts <http://www.letuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3373> layup to cut the lead to 27-33 with 3:13 remaining. Roberts scored a season-high nine points on 3-of-5 shooting from the floor and had three steals. LETU trailed at the break 31-38.
The YellowJackets continued their comeback in the third quarter as they used a 6-0 run to start the period to cut the lead to one with a Crystal Jones <http://www.letuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3367> fast break layup.
The fourth quarter was back and forth with six lead changes as the two teams traded baskets. LeTourneau got a huge three-point field goal from LaTanya Drakes <http://www.letuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3364> with 1:38 remaining to push the lead to four. The YellowJackets would sink free throws late in the game to complete the comeback and take the hard-fought win.
Bria Goodman <http://www.letuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3365> also poured in nine of her own including a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line. Goodman added four assists and two steals.
Shaquicia Johnson <http://www.letuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3366> did a little bit of everything for the YellowJackets as she grabbed six rebounds to go along with five points, three assists, two blocks and two steals. Paige Demery <http://www.letuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3363> and Ashley Crockett <http://www.letuathletics.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=3362> added eight and seven points, respectively.
LeTourneau will return to Solheim Arena on Friday afternoon for a non-conference tilt with Millsaps College who comes in with a 4-3 record and two-game win streak. Tipoff is 2:00 p.m. on Friday.