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Tonight was the final home game of the regular season for the lady Roadrunners as they faced rival Texas State. Seniors were introduced as they were escorted by family members to recognize them on senior day.

The game tipped off with the Bobcats controlling the ball, but the first points scored was by the Runners’ Ryba Pawlaczyk with a layup; quickly answered by the Bobcats Aimee Hilburn.

After a quick timeout by the runners, Monica Gibbs exploded through the lane with a layup of her own. After the layup, Gibbs dished one out to Amber Gregg for a wide open 3-pointer. UTSA jumped out to a 7-2 lead with 16:21 left in the first.

Onika Anderson hit a deep two, followed by Pawlaczyk draining a three. After a time-out, Alysee Davis came off the bench to re-open play with an automatic three. Gibbs hit one of two free throws after the Bobcats’ Chika Ofoegbu sent her to the line after committing a flagrant.

The Runners continued to impress as Pawlaczyk went inside-out on a Bobcat to put through a layup. Defense was shown to be effective for both teams as several turnovers led to the score remaining at a standstill.

With time ticking off the clock, an Anderson layup brought the action back. Although the game was going back and forth, the Roadrunners opened things up with a seven point lead, forcing the Bobcats to take a timeout. The first half ended with the runners up by 10 after another Davis 3-pointer.

At the half, the leading scorers for the Runners were Pawlaczyk with 9 points and Gibbs with 9 points and 6 assist.

The second half started and the game would go back and forth as the Bobcats tried to get back in the game. With 16:31 remaining in the second and the Runners back up by 10, Gibbs went strong to the whole and collided with Bobcat Victoria Davis, who was a little shaken up after committing the foul.

Anderson continued to contribute on both offence and defense, as she was able to draw a charge after scoring another deuce. The Bobcats tried to build up the pressure by going into a full-court press for most of the second half. After being fouled, Stark hit her free throws with ease and stayed perfect on the night from the line.

The Bobcats continued to try and get back in the game down 56-42, but Davis added to their troubles by nailing another triple from behind the arch. After a timeout, it was UTSA up by 14.

Gibbs continued to draw fouls, most of the time for the and-one. With good defense and a Pawlaczyk three-pointer, UTSA had their biggest lead of the night at 17.

With just under four minutes to go, the score remained 70-55 in UTSA’s favor. The Bobcats continued to fight back, causing the Runners to take a timeout after a continued full-court press and another Hilburn 3-pointer, cutting the Runners’ lead down to 10.

Both teams had their chances as the game got tighter down the stretch. Trailing by seven, the Bobcats continued to use intentional fouls in order to have a chance at getting back in the game, but it ended up being too little too late. The game ended with the Roadrunners taking the win by ten, 80-70.

Overall, the Runners were 70.6 percent from behind the line and hit 48.1 percent of their free throws. Since the rivalry between these two teams is well established, a win is always extra special.

“Oh it feels good,” Pawlaczyk said. “It’s always the best feeling to beat your rivals.” Gibbs shared the same joy as she put her two cents in on the Runners’ win tonight.

“Beating a rival? Great, it feels great,” Gibbs said. “

Ryba Pawlaczyk ended up 13 points and five defensive rebounds for the game. When asked about her contributions to the win, a modest Pawlaczyk said “Well, I had my ups and downs.”

Onika Anderson, who just finished short of a double-double with a total of 18 points and nine rebounds, said the team’s game plan was with three short statements; “Rebound, take care of the ball, and no turn-overs. “We played and it all came together.”

Monica Gibbs had a night of personal bests with 29 points and hitting 17 of 24 free throws. “It feels good”, Gibbs said. “But I just really wanted a win, especially going into a tournament; it’s really good to have that momentum.”

Coach Rae Rippetoe-Blair shared her thoughts on the Bobcat pressure and the game overall. “I don’t think we handled it really well and I’m kind of shocked because we have handled pressure all year. It’s something we may have to work on because we did not handle it very well.”

“Great win, we got Stephen F left and we got a chance to share the conference championship. If we win we’ll be the number two seed, but again, it has been a great year”, Rippetoe-Blair said.

The Lady Runners still have one game left to go against Stephen F. Austin on March 7 before the Southland Conference tournament which is being held March 11 through March 15.

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