A rare occurrence took place Thursday night in Lone Star Conference play inside Patriot Center, as Lubbock Christian University closed the game's final 6:26 scoreless while UT Tyler ended on a 20-0 run to hand the Lady Chaparrals a 69-57 loss.
It marks the second consecutive road game LCU has let a second half lead of at least nine points slip away, but LCU's loss Thursday marked something LCU fans have not seen since Jan. 1, 2015 against Oklahoma City (no not their last home loss). Thursday, LCU let a 16-point second half lead slip away, marking their largest lead resulting in a loss since they allowed OCU to march back from an 18-point deficit.
LCU's first two field goals of the second half were three-pointers and Grace Foster's trey 2:34 into the third quarter provided LCU a 40-24 lead. They maintained the lead, but with 2:53 remaining in the third quarter (and 1:43 into a segment of a sequence of 4:36 in which LCU closed the quarter without a field goal) momentum started to shift. Martina Machalova had her second and-one three-point play of the quarter to cap a 7-0 run to close the quarter for UTT, who cut LCU's lead to 49-40 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Chaps thrived on three-pointers (more on that later), but UTT made noise from long range in the fourth quarter, as Montse Gutierrez hit back-to-back three-pointers (two of her three three-pointers of the quarter) to trim LCU's lead to 53-46. Her second three-pointer ignited a 5-0 run, which was part of an 8-2 run and LCU's lead was cut to 53-48 with 7:25 remaining. Maci Maddox hit a jumper with 6:26 left to put LCU up 57-49, but it would be LCU's final point of the game.
UTT closed the game on a 2-0 run over the final 6:15 of the game. Machalova, who had 16 points in the second half, had six points in the fourth quarter, including a four-point play to highlight the run. LCU, which was sitting at 50% from the three-point range on their first 22 attempts (11/22), closed the game missing their final eight three-point attempts (including all six of their attempts in the fourth quarter).
Three-pointers carried LCU early on. LCU was held to three field goals in the first quarter, but all three were from long range. Despite shooting 23.1% (3/13) from the field in the first quarter, LCU trailed 12-9 in at the close of the quarter. LCU's offense came to life in the second quarter, as 19 seconds into the frame, Rachel Haase connected on a three-pointer to tie the game 12-12. Shaylee Stovall gave LCU the lead (14-12) with LCU's first two-point field goal of the game (55 seconds into the second quarter). LCU had a pair of 5-0 runs, an 8-0 run and a 4-0 run in the quarter. They were 8-of-11 from the field in the quarter (72.7%) and they outscored UTT 25-10 in the quarter behind 10 points from Stovall for a 34-22 halftime lead.
LCU finished the game with more three-point field goals (season high 11) than two-point field goals (9). Ironically, the last time LCU had more "threes" than "twos" was January 15, 2022 in Tyler against UTT (12 of 20 field goals were three-pointers). Thursday, they launched a season-high 30 attempts. Maci Maddox had a team-high and career-high four three-pointers, including a 40-foot conversion to beat the halftime horn. Stovall and Haase each hit a trio of three-pointers.
Maddox led LCU with 14 points and was one of three Lady Chaps with at least 10 points in the game. Stovall finished with 13 points and Haase added 11 points off 4-of-9 shooting from the field and added a career-high four assists (Haase played 22 minutes). Foster led LCU with 10 rebounds.
LCU was plagued by 25 turnovers (and fouls but more on that later), which led to UTT outscoring LCU 29-16 in points-off-turnovers. The 25 turnovers were also rare, as the mark was the most for the Lady Chaps since 29 turnovers on March 27, 2019 (against Drury in Columbus, Ohio).
UTT had five players finish in double figures, led by 21 points from Machalova. Frances King (13 points), Lovisa Hevinder (12 points), Montse Gutierrez (11 points) and Destini Whitehead (10 points) joined Machalova. The Patriots had five three pointers in the game (5/16, 31.3%) and finished the game 41.5% (22/53) from the field.
The loss places LCU with a 13-6 overall record and 8-3 in LSC play. It was the team's first-ever loss to UTT, as the teams were meeting for a fifth time all-time. Every meeting in the all-time series has been in Tyler. UTT improved to 15-3 overall and 10-1 in the LSC.
Following Maci Maddox's final field goal (6:26 left in the fourth quarter), LCU would miss their final nine field goal attempts of the game. Despite the dry spell, it was a one possession game until Montse Gutierrez nailed her third three-pointer of the fourth quarter with 1:18 remaining.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
LCU entered the contest with a 21.3 – 16.1 average advantage in free-throw attempts per game. Thursday, UTT had a 26-6 advantage in free-throw attempts and it led to the Patriots out-scoring LCU 20-6 from the line (LCU made all six of their free-throw attempts). The mark is the highest advantage from the line by an LCU opponent since Angelo State outscored LCU 25-9 from the line on Mar. 11, 2016. Martina Machalova (6-of-10) and Louisa Havender (10-of-10) combined to draw 14 fouls (8 by Machalova), leading to five and-one opportunities. LCU had two free-throw attempts in the second half, compared to 21 by UTT.
LCU faces East Division leading No.7 Texas Woman's Saturday at 1 p.m. in Denton, Texas to close out their week's play.