SAN MARCOS, Texas – Whitney Apari scored seven of the first nine points in an 18-0 Bobcat run at the start of the fourth quarter to break open a close contest against Incarnate Word. Texas State would go on to claim its first victory of the season by a 67-50 margin Tuesday evening inside Strahan Coliseum.
Texas State improves its record to 1-1 on the young season and pushes head coach Zenarae Antoine’s win streak in home openers to a perfect 6-0. Incarnate Word falls to 0-2 with the loss.
The Bobcats were led by Apari’s career-high 16 points on 7-of-10 from the floor, including a three. Taeler Deer also reached double-figures with her 12 points, which included two 3-pointers. Ericka May again led TXST in the rebounding category with 11. Texas State closed the contest shooting 42.2 percent (27-64) overall and 30.8 percent from deep (4-13). The Bobcats also won the battle on the boards 41-35.
Incarnate Word, which shot 35.8 percent (19-53) from the floor, was led offensively by Celia Garcia Paunero’s 19-point, 13-rebound double-double. Imani Robinson and Melina Merritt each scored 10 for the Cardinals.
The Bobcats shot 50 percent (6-12) in the first quarter while limiting the Cardinals 35.7 percent (5-14) to take a 15-10 lead after 10 minutes of play. Toshua Leavitt opened the game’s scoring with a 19-footer from the left wing. Minutes later with the score at 10-8 in TXST’s favor, Ti’Aira Pitts connected on her first triple of the season and after a Robinson bucket for the visitors, Leavitt closed the stanza’s scoring with a pair at the free-throw line.
Both teams started the second quarter cold as each side only hit a single 3-pointer in the quarter’s first five minutes, but combined for 15 empty possessions. May the Bobcats’ near seven-minute scoring drought with a jumper at the 3:31 mark. Pitts followed on the Bobcats’ next possession with a jumper of her own for a 22-15 Texas State lead. An Apari free throw and a fourth Pitts score kept the Cardinals at bay and ushered the Bobcats to the intermission with a 25-20 lead.
Scoring picked up in the third quarter as UIW used an 8-4 run to close within a bucket of the Bobcats at 29-27, forcing a Texas State timeout. Shortly after the break, Deer scored on a fast break layup and Apari followed with a free-throw line jumper two possessions late, pushing Texas State up 33-27. Zandra Emanuel scored for of the Bobcats’ final 10 points in the frame, allowing UIW no closer than four as the third quarter drew to a close with Texas State up 43-39.
Two Apari scores bookended a Kiani Lurry layup as Texas State turned its four-point lead into 10 in the opening 1:20 of the fourth quarter. A minute later Apari sank a 3-pointer and Deer followed with a jumper, giving the Bobcats a 54-39 lead. Texas State would extend its run to 18-0 before UIW’s Robinson scored the Cardinal’s first point of the period on a free throw with 3:14 to play.
Texas state continues its three-game home stand Friday, hosting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The opening tip is set for 7 p.m.