Despite the difficulty the COVID-19 pandemic has created for sports over the past year, the University of Dallas men’s and women’s basketball teams are well into their 2020-2021 season, each with eight games under their belts. The UD men’s team is sitting at a 2-6 record, and the UD women’s team has a record of 3-5.
The Crusaders started off their season Jan. 15 at Austin College. The Crusader men suffered a buzzer-beater 81-80 loss to Austin College, despite career-high games from both junior Jai Love (St. Louis, Missouri) and junior Letrell Toussaint (Waco, Texas). Love led the team with 28 points and 5 assists while Toussaint tallied 19 points, 18 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.
The Crusader women lost to Austin College 73-93. Freshman Raylee Minich (Crowley, Texas) put up 16 points to lead the team. sophomore Beyonce Perry (Lake Jackson, Texas) grabbed 7 of the UD rebounds, and freshman Camille Fowler (Helotes, Texas) had 6 assists.
The following day the Crusaders faced a rematch with Austin College. The Crusader men lost 66-78. Toussaint led the team with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Love tallied 5 assists. The Crusader women lost 52-86. Fowler knocked down 13 points to lead the team.
The Crusaders played their first two home games the following week against the University of St. Thomas. The Crusader men’s first game on Jan. 22 was a back-and-forth battle, ending in an 80-77 loss for UD. Love led the team with 20 points while Toussaint put up 16 points and 13 rebounds for his third straight double-double. Despite a hard fought game, the Crusader women also lost to St. Thomas 60-78. Amber Turner (Rogers, Arkansas) put up 15 points, and freshman Alyssa Sullivan (Wylie, Texas) had 12 rebounds.
The Crusader men were unable to contain St. Thomas in their 81-101 loss the following day. Senior Dustin Mathis (Fort Worth) scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 7 rebounds to lead the team while Love led with 3 assists. The Crusader women lost 52-67. Turner scored 13 points and freshman Imani Hardin (Helotes, Texas) had 7 rebounds.
On Jan. 29 and 30, the Crusaders played two home games vs. Centenary College of Louisiana. The Crusader men barely lost the first game 73-76. Freshman forward Jack Boyle (Silver Spring, Maryland) played a career-high game with 18 points, 15 rebounds, and 6 blocked shots. His 6 blocked shots are a Crusader high since Spencer Levi blocked 9 to set the school record in 2017.
Defeating Centenary 70-63, the Crusader women broke their four game losing streak. Sullivan and Fowler both put up 19 points to lead the team. Hardin had a massive 17 rebounds—a Crusader women’s high since 2016.
The Crusader men broke their 5-loss streak with a 67-60 win the next game. Freshman Marcus Juarez (Clint, Texas) led the team with 14 points. Love gave out 5 assists. Achieving his second straight double-double, Boyle racked up 19 rebounds, 3 blocked shots and 11 points. Sweeping Centenary College, the Crusader women cruised to a 68-45 win. Fowler scored 18 points and Hardin had 11 boards.
Traveling to Schreiner University the following week, the Crusaders played two games against the Mountaineers. The Crusader Men lost a tough first game 79-83, despite a valiant effort. Love scored 22 points for his fifth double-digit scoring performance of the season. Boyle grabbed 10 rebounds and his third straight double-double. The Crusader women lost 46-76. Perry and Hardin led with 13 points each, and Hardin also led in rebounds with 8. Turner dished out 3 assists.
The following day’s rematch resulted in a Crusader men’s win of 98-87. Sophomore Jacob Giunta (Keller, Texas) led the team with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Love led in assists with 4. The Crusader women clinched a close 54-52 win. Fowler scored 14 points, shooting 9-for-12 at the free throw line. Fowler and Hardin both had a team best of 11 rebounds. On top of her double-double, Fowler led with 6 assists.
Men’s Head Coach Jarred Samples expressed gratitude and optimism despite the difficult season. He wrote in an email:“This has been a challenging year with Covid and now the weather. However, our team has tried to be thankful for every opportunity that we get to practice and compete…We are looking forward to finishing the season strong”.
In expectation of the end of the regular season, Women’s Head Coach Bri Calver wrote in an email, , “We have a young team and I am very happy with how we have handled all the adversity. We are looking forward to getting back on the court this upcoming weekend when we head to Colorado and hopefully having a chance to compete in the conference tournament.”
The men and women Crusaders will face Colorado College for their final two games of the regular season in Colorado on Feb. 27 and 28.