Women's Basketball

UTA rallies past Texas State, clinches 1st regular season conference championship since 2009

UTA coach Krista Gerlich cuts down the nets after the Mavs clinch their first regular season conference title in 10 years.
UTA coach Krista Gerlich cuts down the nets after the Mavs clinch their first regular season conference title in 10 years. Courtesy

The Mavericks capped off their best regular season in 10 years with a come-from-behind road victory at Texas State, 44-41 on Saturday to grab a share of the Sun Belt Conference regular season title.

It’s UTA’s first regular season conference championship since 2009 when it was in the Southland Conference.

UTA 23-6 (15-3 SBC) will head to New Orleans for the SBC tournament as the No. 2 seed. The Mavs will play at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Against the Bobcats, the Mavericks overcame a slow start and outscored Texas State by 10 points in the second half. UTA only scored 8 points in the first quarter and 9 in the second to trail 28-17 at halftime.

Texas State 14-16 (9-9 SBC) finished the first half with a 12-0 run.

But the Mavericks held the Bobcats to 3 points in the third quarter to begin their rally.

Tied at 36, LD Bell alum Cierra Johnson picked up a 3-point play to give the Mavs a 39-36 lead with 3:26 left. Texas State tied it at 40 before Aysia Evans knocked down a corner 3 to put UTA up for good. The Bobcats had one final chance to tie the game, but struggled to get the ball inbounds with 11 seconds to play.

Johnson finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Evans and Terryn Milton led UTA with 12 points apiece. Plano’s Katie Ferrell grabbed a team-high 11 boards.

UTA shot 9 of 19 from the floor after intermission while Texas State was held to 3 of 23.

Following the season, the SBC announced its awards on Monday and head coach Krista Gerlich and Johnson received postseason accolades. Gerlich was named the league’s Coach of the Year for the first time while Johnson was named Co-Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Sun Belt First Team.

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Born and raised in Hawaii, Brian Gosset graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in journalism before coming to Texas in 2014. He’s covered high school sports — yes, pretty much every high school sport — for the Star-Telegram ever since.

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