After closing the home schedule with two wins, the TWU basketball team will finish the regular season on the road with a Thursday tilt against Texas A&M-Kingsville and then Saturday against Texas A&M International.
The Lone Star Conference standings will certainly be decided on the final day of the season. TWU (9-15, 7-13) sits right on the bubble in a four-way tie for 12th place. A&M International is also tied for 12th. The top 12 teams qualify for the postseason conference tournament.
Coach Beth Jillson knows her team can only control what they can.
“We showed a lot of effort and got the momentum going our way,” Jillson said about closing the home schedule. “Everybody was very connected. We played with a ton of energy. Every player that stepped on the court was efficient. We had a lot of different players step up. Good things happen when we value each possession.”
As the conference standings attempt to get finalized, Jillson believes TWU will get into postseason play with two wins.
Softball: TWU on high entering LSC play
Scoring 19 runs across two games, the Pioneers entered Lone Star Conference play on a high note Wednesday against Texas A&M-Commerce. TWU (5-9) defeated Ottawa University in both games of a doubleheader last Saturday, first 9-4 before rounding out the day with a 10-7 win.
Sophomore Paige Tamayo and junior Avery Williams led the offensive charge for the Pioneers with a combined 10 hits and eight RBIs. Williams went 4-for-4 in game two while Tamayo was a combined 5-for-8 with eight RBI between the two games, with five coming in game two.
TWU will look to ride a string strong performances from senior pitcher Bailey Turner. Turner allowed four runs through a combined 7.2 innings of work, striking out 11. The Pioneers currently rank in the middle of the conference in staff ERA at 11th with a 5.00.
Entering conference play Turner has managed a bulk of the innings with a 4.55 ERA through 47.2 innings pitched. Freshman Bailey Tisdale leads the staff with a 4.40 ERA in 20.2 innings.
“[Turner] knows what the responsibility is in the circle,” coach Amber Barker said. “She’s a returner. She will always give her best every time even if she’s not at 100%. She really has that warrior mentality.”
The Pioneers will face UT Tyler in a doubleheader Sunday before Oklahoma Christian comes to Dianne Baker Field to open home LSC play on March 6 at 3 p.m.
Gymnastics: TWU hopes to build on strong head-to-head win
A strong weekend against Air Force has TWU gymnastics sitting just outside the top 50 in the overall national team rankings, based on National Qualifying Score. The Pioneers currently have a 193.410 team score, which ranks third-highest in Division II.
TWU downed Air Force 194.125-192.175 behind a new career high in all-around from Domi Bonzagni at 38.700 which placed second. Bria Northrop finished first with a 39.100.
Daisy Woodring continued a strong run of floor competitions with a 9.825 topping a previous mark of 9.7 set earlier in the season against No. 1 Oklahoma and West Virginia. Woodring, Bonzagni and freshman Mackenzie Kunzman set career highs. Kunzman had a 9.775 on bars and a 9.875 on beam, both career highs.
Coach Lisa Bowerman hopes her team can carry the momentum into Friday’s meet against No. 18 Auburn and beyond.
“I saw the weekend as really a continuation of the good path we are on at this point in the season,” Bowerman said. “This team showed how resilient they are and how committed they are to each other and winning. It was disappointing to have to count a fall, but they finished the meet really strong.”
No. 18 Auburn represents one of the final head-to-head challenges in the season for the Pioneers. No. 2 Florida in Gainesville will round out the head-to-head competitions on March 13.
Bowerman’s squad is 3-2 in head-to-head competitions this season. She is hoping her team can push their NQS higher with continued strong showings.
“The confidence has really been apparent,” Bowerman said. “The confidence they are competing with across the board is there. When they feel more confident it just shows in their gymnastics. Their gymnastics gets bigger, gets cleaner and more consistent. It’s the gymnastics we know they’ve had in them all along. We are getting closer and closer to showing our very best.”