SAN MARCOS – In their return home to Strahan Coliseum following a quick two-game road trip, the Texas State Bobcats needed to put on an offensive display to both solidify third place in the Sun Belt standings and vault their head coach into history.
So it was only fitting that three-year Bobcat starting guard Taeler Deer would respond with the best offensive game of her career.
Deer poured in a career high 36 points on 13-of-20 shooting to propel the Bobcats to an easy win over ULM on Thursday night that delivered head coach Zenarae Antoine’s 100th career victory at Texas State.
The Bobcats (12-6, 5-2) led early 6-1 after a pair of three point buckets by senior Toshua Leavitt, but watched as ULM responded with an 8-0 run to take a brief 9-6 advantage.
Unfortunately for the Warhawks, it would be their only lead on a night that belonged to Deer, who would score 10 of the next 12 Bobcat points – including a pair of 3-pointers to help Texas State tuck the game away early with a 23-11 lead they would never relinquish.
“After I hit my first shot I knew I would have a good night. ” Deer said. “I have been in the gym a lot lately and it has really paid off. I am glad I was able to be apart of getting Coach (Z) her 100th win.”
Antoine was saluted by fellow coaches along with family members in a postgame video tribute and then was presented with the game ball at midcourt as she became only the fourth coach in Texas State history to reach that milestone.
The seventh-year head coach joins Suzanne Fox (174 wins), Judy Rinker (145) and Linda Sharp (138) in Texas State’s exclusive 100-win club.
“The video tribute was a huge statement to my journey here at Texas State and it was hard not to get emotional.” Antoine said. “I have had so many great young women who have wanted to be coached and I couldn’t have asked for a better group to mentor during my time here. I am also very appreciative to Dr. (Larry) Teis and Dr. (Denise) Trauth for giving my first head coaching opportunity.”
Leavitt, a junior, also inked herself in the history books by registering 19 points on 5-of-10 shooting from behind the arc. Her fourth triple of the night gave her 83 on the season – the most ever by a women’s player at Texas State – eclipsing the mark set by former player Joyce Ekworomadu during the 2007-08 campaign.
The Bobcats shot a blistering 66 percent from the field from the field in the second half to blow the game open with a 27-11 third quarter run.
The burst started with four straight 3-point baskets by Texas State – two from Leavitt and one each from sophomore Brooke Holle and Deer for a Bobcat team who will host Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday.
The Rajun Cajuns took two out of three from the Bobcats a season ago including a Sun Belt Conference Championship Tournament win in New Orleans last year.