The University of Texas at Tyler took a four point lead at halftime, and blew out Mississippi College in their final game, 94-71. In a day honoring the seniors, all four were in double-figures.
In an emotional Senior Day game for the Patriots (17-8, 14-6 ASC), coach Terri Deike said the second half turnaround came down to just finishing the game, and the careers of her four seniors.
“I think it was a little bit stronger defense, maybe a few more boards. I think it all boiled down to wanting to win and get that last win, and make sure they weren’t in the game in the second half.”
The Patriots were led by Sha Shead (SR/LaRue, TX), who posted her eleventh double-double with twenty points and ten rebounds. RaTonya Hunter (SR/Athens, TX) had sixteen points, nine steals, and eight assists. Her nine steals is one away from the all-time UT Tyler record, set by Hunter in the previous game. Sarah Stanley (SR/Rockwall, TX) added sixteen points, and LaKeisha Grant (SR/Marshall, TX) had thirteen points and eight rebounds.
After the game, an emotional Deike reflected on the time spent with her seniors.
“At this point, it’s very difficult to talk about them. Like I told them before the game, they are the UT Tyler basketball program. It’s not me, it’s them. As I watched them play here at the end, I thought back to that first year when we only won eight games, and I remember what Ro said after it. She said ‘I don’t ever want to go through that again,’ and we haven’t. With them, we’ve gotten sixteen wins and then seventeen and seventeen.”
“They are UT basketball, they define it.”
The Patriots finish the season 17-8, 14-6 in the ASC, and in second place in the ASC East. This season also finishes the final year of provisional membership in the NCAA for UT Tyler. The Patriots would have qualified for the playoffs for the third straight year of eligible.