Monday’s victory over No. 19 Tarleton State showed two things about TWU — how well the Pioneers are playing right now and how well they’ve played at home all season.
The 64-59 win over the TexAnns improved the Pioneers to 7-1 at Kitty Magee Arena and marked their fifth win in six games over the past three weeks — a run that includes three road wins.
“It’s huge,” TWU coach Beth Jillson said. “We’ve been playing better and better, and I was really pleased with how they prepared for this game. We really believed, even before we stepped on the court, that we could win this game.”
Beating the TexAnns was a bit of revenge for an 18-point beating the Pioneers (10-9, 6-4 Lone Star) took from Tarleton last month in Stephenville.
It also was the first time in three seasons that TWU has defeated a nationally ranked opponent. The Pioneers defeated No. 6 Northeastern State 56-46 late in the 2010-11 season before beating the Riverhawks 54-50 in the Lone Star Conference tournament.
Against the TexAnns, the Pioneers never trailed, thanks in a large part to the double-figure scoring of Ria Pateraki, Rebekah Cluley and Toree Mason. Pateraki and Cluley shared scoring honors with 16 points, while Pateraki completed a double-double with a team-high 10 rebounds.
TWU plays the second game of a three-game homestand at 7 p.m. Thursday when the Pioneers face Cameron (9-9, 1-7). At 2 p.m. Saturday, the Pioneers host their final nonconference game when they play South Dakota School of Mines.
Free youth clinic slated
Jillson and the Pioneers are scheduled to host a free youth basketball clinic Saturday immediately following TWU’s home game against South Dakota School of Mines.
The one-hour clinic is open to boys and girls in eighth grade and below. Interested players are required to register prior to the game, scheduled to start at 2 p.m. at Kitty Magee Arena.
All registered participants in the clinic will receive free admission to the game. More information is available by contacting Jeff Bowerman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Veterans help strong start
Two veteran Pioneers — pitcher Brandie Lander in the circle and Kendra Sancet at the plate — helped ensure that the Genny Stidham era got off to a solid start last weekend.
Stidham made her debut as the head coach of the No. 14 Pioneers at a three-day tournament in San Antonio and her new players didn’t let her down, going 3-2 for the weekend with one of the losses coming in extra innings.
Lander, a senior, was on the rubber for all three of the victories — a 9-1 win over Texas-Permian Basin, a 4-2 victory over St. Edward’s and Monday’s 5-2 thumping of host St. Mary’s. She pitched 18 innings and recorded 15 strikeouts.
The Pioneers raced past UTPB in a five-inning, run-rule decision Saturday, with Lander yielding just one earned run and striking out four. On Sunday, she bounced back with a complete-game victory over St. Edward’s, striking out six and giving up five hits. She was back in the circle Monday as the Pioneers downed St. Mary’s behind her second complete game and five strikeouts.
Sancet, a junior first baseman, provided the offensive spark in all three wins. She went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles against UTPB and 3 for 4, including another double, against the Rattlers. Her weekend effort also included a solo home run in Sunday’s eight-inning loss to Texas A&M International.
The Pioneers are scheduled to play this weekend in the three-day Desert Stinger Tournament in Las Vegas. The Pioneers are set to face Regis, Fort Lewis, UTPB, Colorado School of Mines and Adams State in what is being billed as the largest Division II tournament hosted by one school.
Finding comfort zone
Although it’s early in the season, the Pioneers have found their comfort zone at Kitty Magee Arena, posting two victories in two meets.
The latest success came Saturday when TWU edged No. 25 Rutgers to improve to 3-2 overall.
Prior to battling past Rutgers by less than one point, the Pioneers defeated visiting Air Force in a dual meet last month.
“I think it’s just the familiarity of the facility plus the team being so heavy with upperclassmen,” TWU coach Lisa Bowerman said. “There’s a great confidence level being in this gym, and I think they feed off the energy of our home crowd.”
Although the win over Rutgers didn’t come easy, it continued an early-season trend that has TWU performing its best on its home floor. The Pioneers captured individual titles in all four events and posted team season highs in balance beam and floor exercise.
The Pioneers registered scores of 9.800 or better on six routines, with senior Brittainy Johnson leading the way with scores of 9.875 on uneven bars and 9.800 on beam. She won the bars event. She also captured the bars title against Air Force and at the North Carolina State triangular meet.
“She’s an incredible competitor,” Bowerman said. “It’s been so long since we’ve seen Brittainy at full stride with the injuries she’s had. I think we’re seeing what the real Brittainy is capable of doing.”
Senior Bethany Larimer continued to shine at home, claiming the vault title with a score of 9.850. She has won the event in both of TWU’s home meets.
The Pioneers will attempt to keep their home success going Sunday when they host Centenary and Lindenwood in a triangular at 2 p.m.
Free youth clinic II
Immediately following Sunday’s gymnastics meet with Centenary and Lindenwood, the Pioneer coaching staff and gymnasts will hold a free youth clinic.
The meet is open to all girls in eighth grade and below and will last approximately one hour. Bowerman, her assistant coaches and team members will conduct the clinic.
All participants will need to register prior to the 2 p.m. meet at Kitty Magee Arena. All registered participants will receive free admission to the triangular. More information is available by contacting Jeff Bowerman at email@example.com.