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Starr Jacobs had a massive week to lead UTA to a pair of wins. Courtesy UTA Athletics.

WBB: T-Birds Grab Control of the WAC Race as Busy Week Comes to an End

Saturday featured a big game in Cedar City for top spot in the WAC standings. The Southern Utah T-Birds played host to the defending champs. Technically, it was a battle for first place between the Ladyjacks and T-Birds. However, it really wasn’t because the Ladyjacks have such a big lead in the resume seeding system.

Either way, it was a good day for the hosts. In fact, that sentiment rang true throughout the WAC on Saturday as every home team won.

Before we delve into today’s rapid recap, I want to apologize for missing rapid recaps the last couple of game nights. Let’s delve into the action.

Southern Utah 67, Stephen F. Austin 59

In a dream scenario, the Ladyjacks would get their shot at the T-Birds in Nacogdoches. Unfortunately, that’s not the way the 2022-23 schedule was put together.

At the America First Events Center, after having to grind out a win against UTRGV on Thursday, SUU led for a majority of the game en route to a key win at home against the Ladyjacks.

SUU finishes the week with a two-game lead with four to go. The T-Birds have matchups remaining at home with CBU and GCU in the final week of regular season play.

Aiyana Johnson fought valiantly and led the SFA charge with 22 points. Jordan Harrison had 14 points and three assists. Avery Brittingham had 10 points, eight rebounds and four steals in defeat.

Meanwhile, Lizzie Williamson and Megan Jensen had their best games in a couple of weeks. Williamson had an impressive 16-point, 15-rebound double-double. Jensen added another 16 and six rebounds. The pair combined to shoot 14-20 while their teammates struggled from the field. However, the T-Birds were an impressive 4-7 from 3-point land.

Stephen F. Austin was held to 35.1 percent total and 15.8 percent from 3-point range, again struggling after a hot perimeter shooting day in St. George on Thursday.

Grand Canyon 78, Seattle 48

In Phoenix, the Lopes led for all 40 minutes in a blowout win, keeping their small chance at the regular season title alive. Tiara Brown had 16 points, five rebounds and four steals to lead the way. Laila McLeod added 14 points, connecting on a trio of shots from beyond the arc. Dominique Phillips added 10 points in the win. Seattle got 14 points in defeat from Taliyah Clark.

California Baptist 73, New Mexico State 65

In Las Cruces, the Lancers managed to split their season series with the Aggies and maintain their position in that ever-so-important top-4.

Sila Finau led the CBU charge with 22 points (connecting on a trio of 3-pointers) on a career day for the Colorado transfer. Finau also had six rebounds and five assists. Trinity San Antonio added 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals for the Lancers. Chloe Webb contributed a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Grace Schmidt and Brittany Klaman added 11 points each for CBU.

For the Aggies, who have lost four out of five, Tayelin Grays and Taylor Donaldson just missed a double-double. Grays finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. Donaldson had 14 points and nine rebounds, respectively. Molly Kaiser added another 14 points for New Mexico State.

Sam Houston 59, Tarleton 58

This one came down to a shot at the buzzer. Mikayla Woods hit the game-winner with just over a second to play to give the Bearkats the win. Wood finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, and five steals in the win for Sam Houston. Tierney Coleman added 10 points and five rebounds for the Bearkats who split the week after that double overtime loss to UT Arlington.

Mayra Caicedo led Tarleton with 18 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Elise Turrubiates recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds while Emilia Axelsson added 11 points.

UT Arlington 82, Abilene Christian 73

The Lady Mavs seem to be finding their form at the right time after early struggles. Starr Jacobs had 20 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four steals to lead the charge as UT Arlington has won four out of their last five. Taleyah Jones added 14 points while De’Sha Benjamin was perfect from beyond the arc, chipping in 13 points. Jireh Washington added 12 points with eight assists and Kayla White chipped in 12 more points for UT Arlington.

For Abilene Christian, it was Maleeah Langstaff, Aspen Thornton and Addison Martin leading the charge in defeat. Langstaff had 25 points and eight rebounds. Thornton added 20 points and was perfect from 3-point range and Martin chipped in 11 points.

Utah Tech 89, UTRGV 86

In St. George, the Trailblazers got a split against the Vaqueros and joined two other teams with eight conference wins. Two behind GCU for that fourth and final bye to Wednesday at WAC Vegas. Breaunna Gillen reached 1,000 career points on Senior Day, leading the Trailblazers with 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Emily Isaacson added 22 points and hit six 3-pointers to go along with five rebounds. Amber Kartchner and Maggie McCord each chipped in 15 points. Utah Tech has won three out of their last four games.

Iyana Dorsey did what she does for UTRGV, leading the way with 26 points. Charlotte O’Keefe and Mele Kailahi each added 14 points while Tiffany McGarity chipped in 13 and Deborah Ogayemi contributed 10 points.


About the author

Derryl Trujillo

Derryl Trujillo is a Southern California based sportswriter who won the 2019 Inland Empire Baseball Coaches Association's Supporter of the Year award. He joined the WAC Hoops Digest staff in 2020 and also covers local sports for Inland Sports and the Valley News. Before transitioning to media Derryl was a high school, collegiate and club volleyball official along with serving as a high school basketball scorekeeper for ten years.

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