CANYON, Texas – The No. 3 West Texas A&M Lady Buff women’s basketball used a 24-6 spurt to start the second half en route to a 96-66 victory over visiting Texas Woman’s University in the final regular season home game of the season Sunday evening at the First United Bank Center. WT improved to 23-2 on the year and 14-1 in Lone Star Conference play, while TWU fell to 15-10 and 10-5 in league play, snapping the Pioneers’ league-best seven-game winning streak.
Prior to the game, the Lady Buffs honored five seniors playing in their final regular season home game – and the five didn’t disappoint. Senior Devin Griffin tallied her fourth double-double and second of the week with 16 points and 10 rebounds on 5 of 11 from the field, 2 of 2 from beyond the arc and 4 of 4 from the line. She also had a game-high five steals. Her two triples were the most she’s made in a game in her career.
Senior Casey Land chipped in 17 points on 5 of 9 from the field and 5 of 7 from beyond the arc and two free throws, along with six assists and three steals. Senior Sally Higgins had her first start of the season and seventh of her career as she tallied nine points with three rebounds and one triple. Senior Raven Gerald had five points with a game-high eight assists and senior Lacee Logan was 4 of 8 from the field with a triple and 10 points.
Junior Chontiquah White had a game-high 18 points off the bench on 6 of 9 from the field and 6 o f8 from the line along with six rebounds and three steals. White came off the bench tonight so all five seniors could start the game.
As team, the Lady Buffs shot 30 of 58 from the field for 51.7 percent and were 11 of 20 from beyond the arc, while going 25 of 29 from the line. WT pulled down 39 rebounds, including 12 offensive rebounds and tallied 15 steals and 26 assists.
TWU, who hadn’t lost since an 81-65 setback in Denton, Texas, to WT on Jan. 26, was led by four players in double figures as Rebekah Cluely had a team-high 11 points with three triples. Barbara-Scott Kolb, Mary Kovtun and Kenesha Saygo each had 10 points. Kovtun had a team-high eight rebounds and six blocks.
The Pioneers shot 26 of 61 from the field for 42.2 percent and struggled in the second half going just 11 of 35 after opening the game shooting an even 50 percent on 15 of 30. TWU was 6 of 19 from range and 8 of 14 from the line. The Pioneers had 29 rebounds and 12 on the offensive end and committed 21 turnovers.
In a tight game through the first half, the Lady Buffs led by as many as eight after TWU held an early 11-8 advantage with 16:10 left. The teams traded buckets and had five ties through the first seven minutes, but a steal and triple from Logan gave WT a 22-18 lead with 12:27 left for a lead it would never relinquish.
TWU cut the deficit to three at 31-28 with 6:50 left, but Griffin scored two free throws with 2:53 remaining in the half for a 41-33 lead. Saygo hit a bucket with 2:16 left in the half for the final score bringing the Pioneers within 43-37.
Out of the gates in the second half, the Lady Buffs blistered the nets, scoring the first seven points and outscoring the Pioneers 15-2 over the first six minutes for a 58-39 lead with 14:27 left capped on a triple from Land.
The Pioneers never cut the deficit under 20 the rest of the way and freshman Madison McLain pushed the lead over 30 with a jumper with 1:13 left for a 93-62 lead. Freshman Sasha Wastson hit one of two free throws for a 94-62 advantage which was the largest of the game.
WT concludes the 2013-14 regular season Saturday, Mar. 1 at 6:30 CT at Eastern New Mexico in Portales, N.M. The Lady Buffs are the LSC regular season champions and the top seed in the upcoming Lone Star Conference Tournament, Mar. 5-8 in Allen, Texas. The Lady Buffs will play the eight-seed to open the tournament on Wed., Mar. 5 at 6 p.m. at the Allen Events Center. Tickets for the LSC Tournament are available on Ticketmaster.
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