The scoring of Maighan Hedge and Ava Battese was complemented by the best defensive effort of the season Saturday, enabling the Cameron University women’s basketball team to cruise to a 68-50 Lone Star Conference victory over Texas A&M-Kingsville in the CU gym.
Coach Emma Andrews’ youngsters battled through four early lead exchanges to take the lead for good on the first of 4 3-point conversions by Battese. That started a 10-0 run and sent the Aggies on the road to their fourth consecutive win.
CU is now 9-11 on the year and 8-6 in the Lone Star. Kingsville, rebuilding under the guidance of first-year coach Michael Madrid, is 4-13 and 3-12.
Hedge, the 5-7 sophomore from Melbourne, Australia, dazzled the Javelinas with 26 points. She hit 7 2-point goals with a variety of moves around the key and added 4 of 6 treys for good measure
Battese, the CU career leader in 3-pointers, added 10 of her 14 points in the second half.
Andrews was able to use all 11 available players and 9 scored.
“Everybody got on and it’s exciting to see them succeed,” Andrews said. “They were surrounded by players who have had experience. It was up and down for a little bit; those players with experience maintained it. That allowed us to get a good rotation on the court.”
The Aggie lead peaked at 24 points – 68-44 – with 2:38 to play. Kingsville added the game’s final 6 points.
“I’ll give them credit,” Andrews said of the young Javs. “They didn’t stop playing until the final buzzer. Their coach was into it, they were into it. It’s his first year and he’s going to take that program where they need to go.”
Anastacia Mickens, a 5-11 junior, led Kingsville with 15 points and 5-9 sophomore Bri-Anna Soliz took game rebound honors with 11.
CU fought back from an early deficit to take a 49-41 win on the boards. Battese set the pace with 10 and freshman Stephanie Peterson added 9.
“I think sometimes we just have to take a breath and go back to some of those fundamental things – no turnovers and rebounding,” Andrews said. “All it takes is just a moment to breathe and check back in, especially when you’re at home. There are a lot of things going on, so just to get refocused.
“The good thing about our team right now is there is really good support, so our main scorers can step up and get rebounds and go score it. There are other kids now scoring too, so other players have to give them respect, which allows our scorers to get more shots up too.”
Defense and the 3-ball helped the Aggies open a 19-point advantage before settling for a 39-25 halftime lead. CU limited Kingsville to 25 percent shooting from the floor, thanks in part to 7 blocked shots – 3 by Outon. The visitors also were 2 of 12 from behind the arc.
Cameron converted 6 of 17 treys, the 6-3 Shalkowski coming off the bench to hit a pair.
Hedge carried the offensive load, moving inside and out for 11 points. Andrews had cleared her bench before intermission.
Cameron hit 42.9 percent from the floor, doing most of the damage with a 9 of 18 performance in the first quarter. The Ags also climbed out of an early rebounding hole for a 25-24 edge.
The Aggies will be on the road next week, meeting Texas Woman’s University in Denton on Thursday and Tarleton State in Stephenville on Saturday. The next four league games will be in the Aggie Gym, beginning with UT-Tyler on Feb. 13 and culminating with Homecoming against Arkansas-Fort Smith on Feb. 22.