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LeTourneau University – Sports

Please mark your calendars and plan to attend the LeTourneau University women’s and men’s basketball American Southwest Conference East Division basketball doubleheader against the University of Texas-Dallas starting at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 13. In-between games, LeTourneau University President Dr. Dale Lunsford will dedicate the new seating that was installed inside of Solheim Arena over Christmas break, with the games serving as the first LETU home events since installing the seating.

The men’s game at 4:00 p.m. will feature the 11-2 and ASC East-leading YellowJackets who are off to their best conference start since the 2008-09 season against the Comets, who are currently 8-4 overall and ½ game behind LETU in the ASC East standings at 4-1.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

A wire-to-wire win closed out American Southwest Conference inter-divisional play for the LeTourneau University men’s basketball team with an 87-59 road win at Hardin-Simmons University at the Mabee Complex in Abilene, Texas on Saturday, January 6.

Winners of five-straight, the YellowJackets are now a conference-best 11-2 overall and 5-1 in the ASC while last year’s ASC Tournament Champion Cowboys are 4-10 overall and 2-4 in the ASC.

“Our guys focused while on the road again today,” said head coach Dan Miller in a post-game interview. “We knew we had an advantage inside and our post players produced by finishing at a high percentage.” “We may be 11-2 overall, but the exciting thing is I know we still have a lot to improve on, and our guys are focused on getting better every day while sticking together as a team.”

LETU would utilize a 36-65 (55.4 percent) performance from the floor to come away with the big victory over HSU, assisting on a season-high 26 of their 36 made shots while also going eight for 18 from beyond the arc (44.4 percent). Hardin-Simmons could not overcome a paltry 23-74 (31.1 percent) shooting night while even being outdone on the final rebounding margin by a 51-37 mark. The defense also shined for the YellowJackets throughout, with a total of eight blocks setting a team-high for the season.

Junior Caleb Loggins led all players in the game by going a perfect 10-10 from the field to finish with 21 points in the game while senior Caylab Herrera added 20 points and seven rebounds. Justin Moore and Christian Seidl led the YellowJackets with eight rebounds each as 50 of LETU’s 87 points came from the paint.

LeTourneau would waste no time jumping out to the early lead, scoring eight of the first 10 points before taking a double-digit lead at 15-5 following a Moore triple with 14:17 left in the first half. The YellowJacket lead would grow throughout the first half with Loggins throwing down a statement dunk midway through the half as LETU managed to lead by as many as 19 while taking a 43-27 lead into the locker room. The edge allowed for LeTourneau to play ten players in the first half, with seven players getting into the scoring column in the opening 20 minutes of play.

The second half continued to be more of the same for the YellowJackets, using a 9-0 run to open up the half and take a commanding 52-27 lead just 90 seconds into the period. With the game in full control, LETU would not allow for the lead to dip below 20 at any point in the final 18 minutes of play while leading by as many as 31 points following a Seidl layup in the paint with 5:09 left in the game. An 18-30 shooting performance in half (60.0 percent) ended up surpassing LeTourneau’s best-shooting half of the year to this point while also focusing on taking care of the basketball by only turning the ball over six times in the second half.

LETU will have a week to prepare for their first home game since December 2nd when they take on the University of Texas-Dallas on Saturday, January 13th at 4 p.m. The Comets had an off weekend this past weekend and will take an 8-4 overall record and 4-1 ASC tally into a Thursday night contest at East Texas Baptist before visiting Solheim Arena.

 

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

ABILENE, Texas – Following a 44-point first half, the LeTourneau University women’s basketball team found themselves able to score just 21 points in the second half in a 76-65 road loss to Hardin-Simmons University at the Mabee Complex in Abilene, Texas on Saturday, January 6.

The loss leaves the YellowJackets with a 3-10 overall record and 0-6 mark in the American Southwest Conference while the Cowgirls improved to 4-9 overall and 2-4 in the ASC.

“We were outsized tonight, and it showed in the final rebounding margin (45-32 HSU)” said head coach Cassi Rozanski in a post-game interview. “We knew they were a great team on the boards and we couldn’t keep them off of the glass throughout the game.” “We also left too many points at the free throw line by going 17-30.” “You can’t win close games with those types of numbers despite having a great effort and the energy to be successful.”

After hitting just under 50 percent of their shots in the first half (16-33, 48.5 percent), LETU would be limited in the second 20 minutes of action while hitting just five of 21 shots (23.8 percent) and going 0-6 from three. HSU was able to stay a bit more consistent on the offensive end, combining a 13-28 (46.4 percent) first half with an 11-26 (42.3 percent) effort in the second half to finish with a 44.4 percent shooting percentage (24-54).

Senior Ashley Reed played a vital role in the offensive outburst in the first half, scoring 21 points in the opening period before adding another six points in the second half to finish with a game-high 27 points and two assists. Keauna Whitfield also managed to get to the 20-point mark, ending right at 20 points while grabbing six rebounds. Jaila Leaven led the YellowJackets with seven rebounds to go along with six points and three assists.

A back and forth start to the game would find LeTourneau jumping out to a 6-2 lead before seeing Hardin-Simmons go on an 8-0 run to claim a 10-6 lead with 4:39 left in the opening quarter. Whitfield responded for the YellowJackets by hitting a triple to bring LETU back to within one, but six straight points for the Cowgirls put the lead at 16-9 in favor of the home team before the YellowJackets would close out the quarter by scoring eight of the final 10 points.

Hardin-Simmons would manage to maintain their single-digit lead for much of the second quarter, as the Cowgirls would have a response for every LETU bucket to pull the game within a single possession. After cutting the deficit down to one at 31-30 with 6:10 left in the first half, HSU would use a layup before a Reed three tied the game at 33 at the midway point of the second quarter. LeTourneau then managed to take their first lead of the second quarter with just 1:39 left in the first half on a Whitfield jumper in the paint and go on a 9-0 run before a Taylor Gaffney free throw with one second left made the score 44-40 at halftime in favor of LETU.

Free throws and foul trouble would be the story of the second half, starting right away in the third quarter as LETU managed to score six of their 12 points in the quarter from the charity stripe. Hardin-Simmons also found opportunities to be bountiful at the free throw line, tying the game at 45-45 with 7:44 left in the third before reclaiming the lead on a free throw just one second later. The Hardin-Simmons lead would grow to four at 52-48 before LETU managed to cut the lead back down to one at 52-51, but nine of the final 14 points would be scored by the Cowgirls to give HSU a 61-56 lead at the end of the third.

All the fouls called in the first three quarters started to pile up in the fourth for the YellowJackets, with Hardin-Simmons scoring the only two buckets that scored in the opening five minutes of the quarter. LeTourneau would finally manage to find points down the stretch, but could not find the necessary steps to close the gap while seeing three players foul out in the final minutes.

ASC East Divisional play starts next Saturday, January 13th for LETU when the YellowJackets return home to take on Texas-Dallas at 2 p.m. The game will serve as the first home event for LETU in the newly renovated Solheim Arena which received new seating over the Christmas break.

Matt Kinney
Sports Information Director