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LETU women pick up program's first win in Abilene

LONGVIEW, February 14, 2014--The LeTourneau University women’s basketball team picked up the program’s first win in Abilene and snapped a four-game losing streak with a 68-66 win over host Hardin-Simmons University on Thursday night.

The YellowJackets (8-13, 6-12 ASC) were led by junior Rebecca Stewart – who in her second-consecutive start – scored a game-high 20 points and senior Alexis Wighaman had her second-straight double double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. For the season, Wighaman has four double double performances.

The Cowgirls (7-15, 7-12 ASC) had three in double digits including Shelby Hanna, who had a double double with 13 points and 14 rebounds. She was joined in double digits by Kourtney Holyfield and Taylor Klement, who scored 15 and 10 points, respectively.

“It was a very resilient team effort tonight,” said LeTourneau University head coach Corey Thomaston. “We really worked through some rough patches early and stayed on course. We are staying focused on finishing right now. I was very proud of how we finished tonight.”

LeTourneau rallied to score the final seven points of the first half and five of the first seven in the second half to tie the game at 34. Eight of the 12 in the spurt came from Stewart for the YellowJackets. HSU managed to extend the half lead to six, 42-36, with 15:12; however, LeTourneau failed to concede. The YellowJackets answered with a 13-7 spurt to tie the game on a 3 pointer by Stewart to tie the contest at 49 with 11:49 to play.

A free throw by Stewart put LeTourneau up by one-point, 50-49 and for the first time since the 15:03 mark of the first half when they led 8-6. The free throw sparked an 8-1 run for the YellowJackets, who would remain in front until the host Cowgirls answered with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 59 with 4:22 to go.

The contest would be tied on two more occasions until sophomore Ashley Stephens drove in for a layup with 39 seconds to play that put the YellowJackets ahead 66-64. The LeTourneau defense forced a Hardin Simmons miscue after an offensive rebound which forced them to foul with eight seconds to play. The Cowgirls fouled Stewart, who made two free throws to stretch it to a four-point advantage, 68-64. HSU closed the contest with two free throws with a second to go for the final margin.

“Our bench gave us great minutes and really some tough minutes particularly inside,” said Thomaston. The LeTourneau bench scored 24 points in the win including six each from Stephens, senior Jessica Manas and freshman Marialle Boles. Stephens also grabbed six boards and freshman Meagan Peters had two points and four rebounds off the bench.

The YellowJackets will travel to Richardson for its next game where they will face Texas-Dallas on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 1 p.m.

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