Comet Basketball Breaks Records

The women's team came together with a record-breaking defense under the direction of Coach Joe Shotland, UTD's third ever coach of the team. Photo by Katheryn Ho | Mercury Staff

The Comets showed a legacy-defining defense in their midseason victory on Jan. 5 before arriving to a neck-to-neck loss on Jan. 7.

January 5: Winning against Concordia Texas 51-24.

The UTD Women’s Basketball Team opened the midseason on Jan. 5 with a victory against Concordia that earned them a ranking of #1 defense in the American Southwestern Conference and a score of 4-3.

Comet Women haven’t seen this strong of a defense since 2002.. On Jan. 5, UTD tied its own record for points earned defensively in its January 8, 2002 match against Texas Wesleyan, where the Comets won 103-24.

The Comets’ defense lowered the Tornadoes’ average shooting percentage of 32.5% to a record low of 17.5%. One of the highlight players for the Comets’ defense comes from freshman Kyra Samuels, who made six season-best rebounds in the first two quarters. Head Coach Joe Shotland said he could not be prouder of his team.

“Everybody was engaged,” Shotland said. “One of our strengths I think is our depth. It can be any person on any given night that gives us that spark, and all 16 kids were ready to roll from the jump … like I said, the ball doesn’t bounce your way every once in a while, but they did a good job. I sure was proud of it.”

Scoring 31.7% of attempted shots and 84.6% of free throws, the Comets started with a powerful offense in the first quarter. The Comets held a near impenetrable defense in the second and third quarter, only allowing two field goals to slip by.

Senior Diane Hurst scored an impressive 13 points in the first two quarters of the game. Hurst also made a new record with six rebounds, two steals and a lead-breaking block shot. Senior Blythe Williams retrieved eight rebounds, helping the teams transition from defense to offense while adding six points to the Comet scoreboard. Senior Jordan Maxwell provided three essential assists and six points throughout key moments of the game.

“So right now, you know, I think [Jan. 5] was a really good test for us,” Shotland said. “We tied a school record, defensively holding Concordia at 24 points, and that’s pretty outstanding.”

January 7: Loss against #18/24 Mary Hardin-Baylor 53-49.

In a neck-to-neck game against Mary Hardin-Baylor, UTD Women’s Basketball lost their first game of the year, bringing their score to 4-4 in the ASC and 8-7 in the overall season.

The women’s basketball team made an effort to keep up with a team currently ranked as second in the ASC. It was a constant rally between both teams, emphasized by eight ongoing ties that never broke beyond a six-point difference even in the final minutes of the game.

“We’re right there with the nationally ranked UMHB team, [which] I think if you watch the film again, you’re kicking yourself because everybody in the room thinks that we should have won,” Shotland said.

Scoring 31.7% of attempted shots and 26.7% of three-pointers, the Comets were consistently kept outside the Cru’s perimeter, but in the second quarter, they broke three ties with the most points scored in the game. From there, it was a constant battle to keep the lead before the Cru mounted crucial points in the third quarter. The Comets started the fourth quarter with a one point lead, until the Cru scored a jump shot, leading to the Comets’ defeat. Despite the loss, Shotland isn’t troubled by how the game turned out.

“The tricky thing about sports is you can do everything right, and the results could not go the way that you wanted,” Shotland said. “On the flip, you can do a lot of things wrong too. Some days, the ball bounces your way and you get out of there scot-free. You have to be humble enough to look in the mirror and say, ‘Hey, we got to do some things to improve.’ You also have to be resilient enough to say, ‘Hey, we did enough to win.’ Now it’s time to believe in ourselves and go do it right, and what we’ve been saying [is] this week is no time to feel sorry for ourselves.”

Sophomore Trystan Clark proved her offensive talent with a career record of 11 points scored courtesy of six rebounds. In this game alone, Clark earned four season highs in points made, attempted shots, minutes played and successful field goals.

Williams returned as a highlight player, playing for a personal record of 35 minutes and achieving a personal high of field shots made, field shots attempted and three-pointers scored. Williams also earned 11 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Cierra Trigg shined with a mid-season best, scoring eight points and two steals and taking command of the basketball with two spectator-rousing charges.

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