Junior guard Emily Brister fell just one rebound short of collecting her third straight double-double as the Amarillo, Texas, native finished with a team-high 22 points and nine rebounds. Teammate Jamie Dreiling was also impressive for WT, collecting 20 points and eight rebounds.
The Lady Buffs struggled to find their rhythm out of the gate as they misfired on six of their first seven field goal attempts with Dreiling producing the only WT field goal of the game’s first 17:42 on a short jumper. Brister stopped the dry spell for the Lady Buffs as she connected on a three-point field goal at the 13:28 mark to knot the game at 6-6. The basket provided the early spark that WT needed as they surged to claim the game’s next seven points and take a 10-6 advantage.
The Lady Buffs continued to heat up from three-point range in the first period and a second Holly Isaacs long distance shot of the half gave WT a 19-10 lead and forced an ECU timeout with 9:31 remaining in the period. West Texas A&M was able to make the most of seven Lady Tiger turnovers in the game’s first 20 minutes as they held a 13-to-2 upper hand in points off turnovers, while also forcing two shot clock violations.
During the first period, the Lady Buffs were also aggressive getting to the rim as they were able to draw old-fashion three-point opportunities on three occasions during the half, including two by Dreiling. After their poor shooting start, where they made only one of their first seven shots, the Lady Buffs recovered to make 13 of their next 21 shots (62% shooting) allowing them to carry a 15-point lead into the intermission at 36-21. However, the Lady Buffs did not retake the court with the same vigor they had at the end of the first half.
After several WT turnovers and ECU baskets to close the gap to 38-26, head coach Krista Gerlich called timeout to settle down her squad. Just as they had in the first stanza, WT did not set fire to the nets in the early portion of the second period, starting 1-of-6 as a team from the floor which allowed ECU to cut the lead to 40-32, before a three-point basket from Brister appeared to get the Lady Buffs back on track. The Lady Tigers, however, held strong to get a defensive stop on the next WT possession and score on their ensuing rush to prompt another Gerlich timeout.
WT recovered from their early struggles in the half to go on to outscore the Lady Tigers 29-22 in the second period on its way to claiming its eighth victory of the season. ECU’s Lacey Goldwire, who entered Saturday’s contest trailing only Brister as the LSC’s leading scorer, finished with a game-high 27 points with much of her damage coming from the charity stripe where she went 12-for-15. Brister, meanwhile, lead the Lady Buffs in scoring for the seventh straight contest with 22 points on 7-of-16 shooting.
Joining Brister in double-figure scoring for WT were Dreiling with 20, and junior guard Courtney Lee who ended play with 11 points. Freshman Joni Unruh also was solid for the Lady Buffs as she contributed with six rebounds, four points, three assists and two steals. Additionally, junior Dixie Bell helped WT score with a team-high five assists.
The Lady Buffs will hit the road for a pair of games next week as they head to the state of Oklahoma to battle LSC North opponents in Cameron and Southwestern Oklahoma State. WT women’s hoops returns to the First United Bank Center on Jan. 16 as they open LSC South Division action against Angelo State.
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