T-Birds
Cherita Daugherty had a big week as Southern Utah remained unbeaten in WAC play. Courtesy SUU Athletics.

WBB Rapid Recap: T-Birds Stay Unbeaten, GCU, Utah Tech Escape

The third week of regular season play is complete and if there’s been a theme early on it’s been heart racing finishes. This Saturday was no exception. The T-Birds remain the only undefeated team in league play. GCU and Utah Tech escaped on the road. UT Arlington got back in the win column. And ACU is quietly lurking in the shadows as a dark horse contender.

Two regular season title contenders were tested but came through with wins.

After last year’s triple overtime thriller at the Pan Am Center, Utah Tech and New Mexico State again put on one heck of a show.

A pair of conference veterans hit career milestones and the Ladyjacks finished off the week with a blowout win in Seattle.

UT Arlington 76, Tarleton 70

The Lady Mavs (8-10, 2-4) swept their series with the Texans (7-10, 1-5) but not without a fight from Tarleton State. In the first meeting the Lady Mavs won by 24 at College Park Center. However, in Stephenville, it was much more of a battle.

Shyia Smith led UT Arlington with 20 points and was an impressive 10-11 at the free throw line. Joining her in double figure scoring was Starr Jacobs with 19 points and 10 rebounds, Kamaria Gipson with 14 points, and Kayla White with 10 points.

For the Texans, Elise Turrubiates had 25 points and five rebounds to lead the way. Teresa Da Silva added 16 points while Mayra Caicedo had 13 points, seven assists and four steals.

Abilene Christian 71, Utah Valley 50

In Orem, the Wildcats (9-8, 3-3) split a West Coast trip by defeating the Wolverines at the UCCU Center.

Madi Miller scored her 1,000th career point in a Wildcat uniform and led Abilene Christian with 20 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Aspen Thornton added 18 points with five rebounds, three steals and two assists.

For Utah Valley (4-13, 1-5), Eleyana Tafisi led the way with 14 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Shay Fano added 13 points with nine rebounds, three assists, and a pair of steals while Kaylee Byon chipped in 12 points with three assists.

Grand Canyon 61, UTRGV 52

It may not have been pretty. But, Molly Miller and company found a way to complete this Texas road trip with an undefeated mark and stay a game behind Southern Utah.

Over the final 10 minutes, GCU outscored UTRGV 23-8 to rally back from a 9-point deficit early in the quarter and prevail. Key in that comeback was a sequence where Naudia Evans completed a 4-point play, Olivia Lane converted a 3-point play, and Emma Krueger had a layup off an Aalyiah Collins assist to give GCU a 48-47 lead.

After a Collins layup tied the game at 52, Lane accounted for four of the Lopes final nine points to secure the win.

Stephen F. Austin 86, Seattle U 57

In Seattle, the Ladyjacks (14-3, 4-1) led wire to wire, completing a West Coast swing with an undefeated mark. Tyler McCliment-Call led the way with 17 points and hit a trio of 3-pointers in the win. Angel Scott added 14 points with four steals while Aiyana Johnson chipped in 10 points and four rebounds. Jordan Harrison also was in double figure scoring for the Ladyjacks with 10 points.

For the Redhawks (1-14, 1-4) Asta Blauenfeldt had 13 points with three rebounds in defeat.

Utah Tech 67, New Mexico State 65

After last year’s triple overtime thriller in the Pan Am Center, how would the Trailblazers and Aggies follow up that game in the first of their two meetings this year?

The answer was a thriller that was every bit as good and came down to a Breaunna Gillen basket with 4.5 seconds left to give Utah Tech (12-5, 4-2) the win and put them into essentially a 3-way tie for fourth in the regular season standings.

Gillen had 19 points to lead the Trailblazers while Amber Kartchner added 15 points.

In defeat, New Mexico State (9-9, 4-2) got 22 points, nine rebounds, and a pair of steals from Tayelin Grays. Molly Kaiser recorded her 500th career point in an Aggie uniform and finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, five steals and three assists.

Southern Utah 60, Sam Houston 55

In Cedar City, the Bearkats rallied to make it a 3-point game with 32 seconds left on Kaylee Jefferson’s 3-pointer from the top of the key. But the Bearkats elected to play out the next T-Birds possession defensively instead of fouling.

Megan Jensen’s layup with two seconds left preserved the win. Cherita Daugherty has been on fire for the T-Birds in these first couple of weeks. And Saturday was no exception. Daugherty had 28 points with six assists and five rebounds to lead the T-Birds (9-7, 5-0). Daylani Ballena added 12 points with three assists in the T-Birds win.

For Sam Houston (6-9, 2-3), Sydnee Kemp had 17 points and five rebounds to lead the way. Madelyn Batista added 13 points with seven rebounds while Jefferson finished with 10 points and five rebounds for the Bearkats.

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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