It was cold outside of the Patterson Student Center Tuesday, and Texas A&M-Texarkana’s shooting was even colder inside during the first quarter. Philander Smith scored the game’s first five points and never trailed in beating the Lady Eagles, 93-67.
Texarkana (1-4) converted only 9 of 39 shots (23 percent) in the first half to fall behind the Panthers, 44-28. The Little Rock based school continued to dominate in the second half, bulding a 29-point cushion. The host Lady Eagles never quit, cutting their deficit to 19 late in the game.
Philander Smith had a height advantage, but it was the Panthers’ small guards accounting for the team’s sixth straight victory. Five-foot-5 senior Terralyn Dominick of Little Rock, poured in 14 of her 18 points in the first half. Senior Ciara Pettis (5-5) scored 18 of her game-high 29 points in the second half.
Five-foot-5 junior Vivian Imarenezor of Lagos, Nigeria, came off the bench to contributed 14 points. Junior Rakia Lane (5-5) added 11 points for the winners.
“We’re developing a habit, and I’m not sure how to fix it,” said A&M Texarkana coach Kevin Dobbs. “We’re having trouble scoring early. We’ve put in some new things to get some shots. When you get behind 20 early, you’ve got to bull your neck and fight back. I can accept losing, but not fighting back I can’t. We did fight back tonight after getting down 29.
“I still think we’re better than some of these teams we’re seeing. Our next step is to compete and see what happens. There’s not a lot of history with my girls playing together yet. There’s times when I’m scratching my head wondering who to put in because I don’t have a history with these girls.”
Lady Eagles competitive after first quarter
After falling behind 20-7 in the first quarter, the Eagles were competitive the rest of the contest.
Houston freshman Mi’lan Francis-Miller scored 10 of her team-high 17 points in the final two quarters. Genoa Central sophomore Victoria Hill came off the bench to add 13 points, including two treys.
The Eagles’ shooting was better the final three quarters, finishing 23 of 73 (31 percent). Philander Smith shot 43 percent (36 of 83). The Panthers outscored A&M-Texarkana from the charity stripe 16-9, while outrebounding the host team, 58-39.
A&M-Texarkana will be back in action Friday in the LSU-Shreveport tournament. The Eagles play Xavier Friday at 5 p.m., and then it’s Dillard on Saturday at 2 p.m.