The women’s basketball team improved to 9-0 on the season after defeating the University of Texas-Arlington 75-63 Sunday afternoon, matching their best start since the 1980-81 season. With the victory the Wildcats also extended their nonconference home win streak to 28 games.
Senior Guard Shalee Lehning led the Wildcats as she posted a team high 21 points, while also added nine assists and seven rebounds.
The Mavericks were led by Tamara Simmons, who scored 24 points and kept UTA in a close battle during the first half. However a late push put the Wildcats up 34-25 heading into the half time break.
“We had great games from our foundations players” head coach Deb Patterson said. “I think [Ashley] Sweat and [Shalee] Lehning just really dominated the game with their presence on the offensive and defensive end.”
Coming out of the half time break, the Wildcats struck quickly with five points coming from Lehning to take a commanding 17-point lead.
“I think she is capable of being whatever the game requires,” Patterson said. “We have a point guard here that can score in any number of ways, and that is a tremendous weapon.”
The Mavericks chipped away at the Wildcats’ second half lead by way of a 13-6 run to cut the lead to four with 12:29 left in the second half. However, the Wildcats’ defense anchored by senior Forward Marlies Gipson held off the UTA surge.
Gibson recorded a game high five blocks to increase her career total to 200, five shy of the school record held by two time All-American Nicole Ohlde (2001-04).
“I don’t know if in the entire time that I have been in the Big 12 I’ve seen a shot blocker like Marlies,” Patterson said.
Patterson said she was pleased with what the team accomplished during the home stand and, following Sunday’s victory the Wildcats will begin their final road trip of the season before the start of conference play. The three game road trip begins Dec. 20 as they Wildcats take on Indiana State with tip off set for 5:35 p.m.
“It was a great home stand it was good to be home,” she said. “I think it’s been a good week, I think when your core group of players begin to find their game and you see numbers like the numbers you saw from our core group here it’s good.”