WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: UT-Dallas ends LeTourneau's season with a 56-41 loss
RICHARDSON, Texas – The UT-Dallas Comets fended off a second-half charge by the visiting LeTourneau YellowJackets and prevailed 56-41 Saturday.
Tarneisha Scott poured in 21 points for the Comets (20-5, 16-4 American Southwest Conference), while teammate Lyndsey Smith added another 15 points for UT-Dallas, which will claim the ASC East Division's No. 2 seed for next week's postseason conference tournament.
Cait Collins (Fort Worth, Texas/Hardin-Simmons) came off the LeTourneau bench to score 12 points in her first road trip to the Metroplex as a member of the YellowJackets.
The YellowJackets finished the season at 2-23, with a record of 1-19 in ASC play.
A junior transfer who played her prep basketball at Fort Worth Paschal, Collins scored eight of her points at the free throw line, and missed only one of her charity shots.
The Jackets led for most of the low-scoring first half, taking a 7-4 lead at the 13:55 mark when Collins knocked down a trio of free throws after being fouled taking a 3-point shot. LeTourneau held the lead for a little more than 10 minutes, and led by as many seven points midway through the half.
UT-Dallas tied the game at 14 when Kellie Loukanis knocked down a trey with 3:52 remaining in the first half. The Comets outscored LeTourneau 10-3 over the final four minutes of the period and took a 21-17 lead into halftime.
The Jackets managed to shoot only 18 percent (4 of 22) in the first half, but kept the Comets within their reach by allowing UT-Dallas to shoot a mere 33 percent (7 of 21) before halftime.
The Comets sizzled in the second half, shooting 59 percent (13 of 22) from the field. The home team stretched its lead to 10 points with 12:26 remaining in the game, but then had to keep the comeback-minded YellowJackets at bay.
The YellowJackets whittled the Comet lead down to three points in less than two minutes. Collins hit a pair of field goals during that stretch, and cut the UT-Dallas to lead 33-30 with a jumper in the paint with 10:49 left to play.
LeTourneau kept the game within two possessions for the next few minutes and got as close as 37-35 when De'Shante Thomas (Whitehouse, Texas/Whitehouse) made one out of two free throw attempts at the 7:56 mark. The Comets, however, responded with an 8-0 run, and never led by fewer than nine points the rest of the game.
Thomas scored seven points and grabbed nine rebounds for LeTourneau. Megan McGuire (Hallsville, Texas/Hallsville) added six points and registered four steals.
With no seniors and only three juniors on their roster of 12, the YellowJackets appear to have a bright future. Among the emerging underclassmen is Thomas, who set a single-season LeTourneau record by blocking 56 shots during the 2010-11 season. She also led the team with a 7.2 rebounds-per-game average.
Junior guard La'Queda Davis (Houston, Texas/Waltrip) led the team in scoring with 8.0 points per contest. Collins averaged seven points per game, and led the YellowJackets with an average of 8.1 points per contest during their 20 ASC league games.