College Hoops: A fitting end for Diamond
Senior guard Diamond Ford reminded Texas State's fans and the Western Athletic Conference just how dynamic she is with her performance Saturday afternoon.
Ford led a balanced effort by the Bobcats' offense as they posted a resounding victory over San Jose State on senior day. Texas State had four players score in double figures — two with 20 or more points — as it throttled the Spartans, 100-67.
"It feels good (to win on senior day)," Ford said. "We just came out and played as a team from beginning to end."
Just two days after she struggled to find her shot in an ugly loss to Utah State, Ford notched her 19th 20-point game of the season and the 44th of her career. Ford finished with 25 points to go along with seven steals, six assists and four rebounds.
It wasn't just Ford who couldn't hit water if she fell out of a boat last Thursday, but the entire team. Even though Ford's 5-of-25 effort against the Aggies stood out, the Bobcats shot 20.6 percent in the first half and their 56 points were the fewest they scored since a 56-46 loss to UTSA back on Jan. 19.
"I wouldn't say say we forced them, but our shots weren't falling," Ford said. "We could have played more as a team, but today really showed like we could play like a team."
Texas State couldn't miss Saturday afternoon and Zenarae Antoine's team was in a shoot-first, pass-second mood.
Behind a scorching effort from behind the arc (7-of-15) and 14 points from Ford, the Bobcats raced out to a 49-34 lead by halftime. Ford wasn't the only one scoring, as Texas State had five players with six or more points.
Nothing slowed the Bobcats down in the second half and the pep band began counting down to 100 with five minutes left in the game. To Texas State's credit, the players worked the ball around (19 assists) before unloading another jumper.
"I turned to our kids after the last game and one of the things they all reiterated over and over was that we had to do a better job of sharing the ball," Antoine said. "When they told me that's what they needed to do, I made it a focal point. You know what? It worked."
Antoine began pulling her three seniors with just more than two minutes to go.
First, it was Bree Dawson in favor of Raven Burns. Then Morgan Passino sat so Erin Peoples could come back in. Finally, it was Ford's turn.
As Ford took the towel from freshman guard Ayriel Anderson, she took one more look at the scoreboard. That game might have been over, but Ford and and Bobcats still have work to do beginning Tuesday afternoon in the conference tournament in Las Vegas.