ODESSA -- All-around play by KJ Stastny and a career game by Grace Mitchell propelled TWU to a 78-61 win over Texas-Permian Basin on Saturday.
Stastny posted 18 points to go with a career-best eight rebounds and tied a career high with seven assists for the Pioneers (5-4, 2-2 Lone Star). Mitchell had her best outing in a TWU uniform with 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting, 15 rebounds and five assists.
The Pioneers outrebounded the Falcons (3-7, 2-2) by 27 while pulling down a season-high 52 rebounds and posted season highs by shooting 52 percent from the field and handing out 23 assists on their 32 field goals.
The Pioneers finally pulled away in the fourth quarter after the Falcons closed to within 59-52 at the 6:42 mark. Mitchell scored three times underneath on assists from Statsny and Cienna Rodriguez, and Stastny hit a 3 on a skip pass from Bri'anna Gray to fuel a 15-3 Pioneer run for a 74-55 lead with a minute and a half to play.
TWU opened the game on a baseline jumper from Rodriguez and jumped to a 16-7 lead following a pair of Mitchell free throws midway through the first quarter. A jumper by Ma'K'La Woods gave the Pioneers a double-digit advantage at 18-7 with 3:27 remaining in the period.
The Falcons cut the deficit to 28-26 just over a minute into the second quarter before two free throws by Woods and a bucket by Mitchell upped the lead to six. A bank shot by Kameron Daily in the paint put the Pioneers up 39-31, but UTPB made a layup at the halftime buzzer to slice the margin to four.
A fastbreak layup by Gray opened the second half, and Stastny drilled a 3-pointer two possessions later for a 45-36 advantage. Consecutive field goals by Stastny and one from Mitchell upped the lead to 53-19 halfway through the period before UTPB ended with an 8-2 run to close within 55-48.
"I liked our poise and confidence against a very scrappy UTPB team," TWU coach Beth Jillson said. "We did a phenomenal job sharing the basketball by dishing out 23 assists and were disciplined on the boards. Our defensive focus in the second half was much better and once again we had multiple players step up and contribute.
"I'm proud of Grace and her effort along with her career highs. Cienna and KJ did an outstanding job controlling the tempo and taking care of the ball as they combined for 12 assists."
The Pioneers will host Northeastern State in nonconference action at 7 p.m. Dec. 19.