The women’s basketball team played its final two home games this season, facing off against the Texas Lutheran Bulldogs on Friday, Feb. 14 before playing the Pirates of Southwestern University on Saturday, Feb. 15. Saturday marked the final game that seniors Panda Houseworth, Gracie Williams, and Alex Parkey will play in front of their home crowd. All three players were honored before the game, each being individually recognized for their contribution to the team over their college career.
Friday saw the Crusaders fall to TLU 68-47, as the defending SCAC tournament champions’ defense was too much to handle. The Bulldogs were rabid on defense, holding the Crusaders to just under 29% overall shooting and just under 28% from three. They forced 20 turnovers, leading to 19 points off those turnovers, giving the Bulldogs the edge they needed. Despite giving up 13 offensive rebounds, seven of which can be attributed to freshman guard Madi Horne (3), junior forward Jules Oliveti (2), and senior forward Alex Parkey (2), TLU managed to hold Dallas to just five second-chance points.
On the offensive end, Texas Lutheran significantly outshot the Crusaders, shooting over 47% from the field and over 42% from three-point range. Players coming off the bench for the Bulldogs significantly contributed to this performance, contributing 33 points of their own. Thirty-five rebounds and 18 assists capped off with 28 points in the paint was more than enough for the Bulldogs to pull ahead halfway through the second quarter and stay in that position throughout the entire game, which ended with the Bulldogs winning 68-47.
Saturday night was an emotional event, as the Crusaders finished their final home game against the Pirates of Southwestern University. Dallas improved on their shooting woes from the previous night, improving their shooting to almost 34% from the field. They cut down on their turnovers by five, and scored more in the paint, with 24 points on Saturday compared to 18 the previous night. The Crusaders’ reserves, led by Jules Oliveti with 14 points, also made a much more significant impact in this game, contributing 16 points to the game. Oliveti also made her presence known on the glass, pulling down eight rebounds, three of which were on the offensive end.
Despite the improved effort, however, Southwestern jumped out to an 18-1 lead through nine minutes. This strong start was too much for the Crusaders to handle, as they would not ever be able to catch up to the Pirates despite Dallas outscoring them 21-13 in the final quarter. Cecily Woolfolk of the Pirates put up 20 points to go with six boards, contributing to Southwestern’s dominant 41-one rebound performance. By the time the clock had run out, the Pirates had won 68-50. When asked what to expect in the final two games of the season, forward Jules Oliveti emphasized playing for the seniors, encouraging the women “to finish playing hard for our seniors and communicating more on defense.”
Moving into the final week of the season, the women look to end the year on a strong note. “The team has set goals for this week, both individual and team-oriented,” forward Alex Parkey commented following Saturday’s game. “We’re continuing to find, be aggressive, and end the year on a positive note.” Parkey, despite being a senior and not returning next year, is very optimistic about the future of the program, and left a message to the returners: “For those returning next year, the work for next season begins now.” This goes to show the work ethic and dedication of this team. Despite coming up short this weekend, the Crusaders are constantly looking to improve themselves and work to achieve greatness.
Dallas will finish their season on the road this upcoming weekend. The women tip-off against St. Thomas University in Houston on Friday at 7:30 PM, before wrapping up their season at Centenary College of Louisiana on Saturday, February 22, at 6:00 PM.