November 17, 2009
Popelar scores 16 in YellowJacket loss
SHERMAN, Texas – Alexis Popelar scored 11 of her game-high 16 points in the first half, but it wasn't enough as the LeTourneau University women's basketball team opened the season with a 65-45 loss Tuesday night to Austin College at Hughey Gym.
Popelar, who had four field goals, including a 3-pointer in the first half, was 6-of-11 shooting in 36 minutes of action. Colleen Redmond added 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting. LeTourneau (0-1) was 16-of-43 (37 percent) from the field.
The Kangaroos (1-1) began the game on a 6-2 run, capped by a Kersti Marusich jumper with 16:19 left in the opening half. But the YellowJackets battled back to tie the game at 6 with buckets by Laura Hahn and Redmond with 14:22 remaining.
LeTourneau, having two post players in foul trouble (April McCamey with three and Tabitha Dansby with two), took its first lead of the night with 9:31 remaining in the first half after a layup by Popelar.
That bucket sparked a huge 15-4 LeTourneau run as the YellowJackets grabbed a 21-11 advantage with 6:53 remaining in the half on a 3-point play by Popelar.
Back came Austin College with four straight points to trim the margin to 21-15 with a little more than six minutes left in the first half.
A layup by Sharral McGee pushed the YellowJackets lead to 23-15 with 4:01 left in the first half, but back came Austin College.
The Roos, who didn't allow a field goal in the final four minutes, closed the first half on a 7-1 run as Brittany Frasier drained a 3-pointer from the left corner with 53 seconds left to cut the deficit to 24-22 as the two teams headed into the break.
The YellowJackets, who were out-rebounded 23-18, were 10-of-27 in the first half from the floor for 37 percent. LeTourneau was just 1-of-7 from behind the arc. Meanwhile, the Roos were 7-of-29 (24 percent) shooting and 2-of-11 from behind the 3-point stripe.
Austin College took advantage of LeTourneau's inability to knock down a bucket from the floor in grabbing a 30-26 lead with a little more than 16 minutes to play. But the YellowJackets kept the game close as McGee drained a jumper with 14:14 left to cut the Roos lead to 34-32.
However, LeTourneau failed to sink a shot from the field, allowing back-to-back 3-pointers by Shayna Clardy and Frazier, giving the Roos a 42-34 advantage with 11:34 remaining. A layup by Katy Williams with 7:53 left gave Austin College a commanding 49-36 lead.
A putback layup by Marusich put the game out of reach with 5:43 remaining as Austin College took a 51-36 lead and didn't look back, out-scoring the YellowJackets 43-21 in the second half.
Marusich paced Austin College with 13 points on 6-of-15 shooting. Clardy and Cruikshank each had 12 points, while Williams led the game defensively with 12 of her game-high 17 rebounds on the defensive glass. The Roos were 23-of-55 (42 percent) shooting, including a blistering 16-of-26 (62 percent) in the second half.
The YellowJackets' home opener is 6:00 p.m., Monday, Nov. 23 at the Solheim Arena against Texas College.