KJ Stastny scored a career- and game-high 25 points in the Lone Star Conference opener for TWU, but the Pioneers fell 74-62 to Angelo State on Thursday night at Kitty Magee Arena.
Stastny hit four of her five 3-point attempts and added four steals and four rebounds. Alexis Nezianya posted 11 points and seven rebounds, while Grace Mitchell added seven points and 11 rebounds.
The Pioneers (3-3, 0-1 LSC) took advantage of a pair of Angelo State technical fouls, an ejection and a personal foul to sink five straight free throws and pull within 59-56 with 2:26 remaining.
The Belles (3-2, 2-0) hit a 3 on the ensuing possession before Whitney Apari countered with a putback for a score of 62-58. The Belles finished the contest by converting 11 free throws in the final minute and a half.
The Belles scored the first six points of the contest before a pair of free throws by Stastny just over three minutes in. A post move by Stastny and reverse layup by Nezianya tied the game at 6. A high-low pass from Cienna Rodriguez to Mitchell handed the Pioneers their first lead at 10-8 at the 3:32 mark.
The teams entered the second quarter tied at 10 and were knotted at 13 after a 3-pointer by Stastny. Nine straight points put ASU up 22-13, but a conventional three-point play by Bri'anna Gray and free throw by Stastny lessened the deficit to 22-17 with 4:42 to go. The Belles led 29-19 until a 15-foot jumper by Morgan Easley made it 29-21 at halftime.
In the third period, back-to-back Stastny 3-pointers from opposite wings fueled a nine-point TWU run to pull the Pioneers to within 36-32 at the five-minute mark. The Belles pulled ahead 42-32 until three TWU free throws cut the margin to 42-35 at the end of the third.
The Pioneers will host Texas A&M-Kingsville at 2 p.m. Saturday.