On a winning streak

Junior guard Tyra Banks had 3 points in her 16 minutes of play against University of the Ozarks at home on Jan. 20. The Comets took a 5-4 lead with 6:26 to play in the first quarter and held onto it through the end of the game, a 76-41 win. Photo by William Legrone | Mercury Staff.

The women’s basketball team has gone undefeated since Dec. 18, leading to a 14-2 record this season. 

The Comets started their winning streak with a 59-47 win over Hardin-Simmons at home. The streak came as a surprise to coach Polly Thomason, especially after the loss of several senior players from last season.

“This one is more exciting and enjoyable just because it’s unexpected,” Thomason said. “Last year we were just talented, and this year we feel were going to have to work hard to get the win.”

During the 2016-2017 season, the team had two extended winning streaks, one with 11 games and one with 12, ending the year with a 25-4 record. Last year’s 12 consecutive victories are the current school record. Senior forward Madison Steele attributed the team’s overconfidence to last season’s success.

“In the past, complacency has been a big reason for a winning streak to fall,” she said. “We force teams into making plays that they are not comfortable with and we trust our teammates to have our backs in help-side when needed. We have also learned how to be patient in our offense and find the best option on the floor to take the shot.”

The tactic has proven successful this season, with the team defeating schools including ASC East first-place East Texas Baptist University and school rival UT Tyler. Senior guard McKenzie Petty came off the bench to help the team and grab seven points in the 59-55 road win against ETBU, handing them their only ASC loss this season. Despite the new players, the team came together in the end, Petty said.

“I feel like we have a lot more … freshmen that had to step up this year,” Petty said. “It’s been a learning experience for them, not a lot of experience compared to the past, but they’ve really stepped up and showed a lot of talent.”

The team secured its ninth win with a 76-41 rout of University of the Ozarks on Jan. 20. The team continues ASC play in Austin against Concordia Texas on Jan. 22.

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