Streak over as Cowgirls topple HCU

Published 10:54 pm Thursday, February 29, 2024

That giant sigh coming from the Legacy Center Thursday night was one of relief.

The streak has finally ended.

For the first time in 18 tries, the Cowgirls put together a complete game and ended their nightmarish losing skid at 17 straight. It is the second-longest losing streak in program history.

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McNeese State also won for the first time against a Division I opponent, as the Cowgirls rolled over equally struggling Houston Christian 72-64 Thursday night inside the Legacy Center. 

“Proud of this team, they kept coming to work every day and it paid off,” said McNeese head coach Lynn Kennedy. “We could have given up, but we kept fighting.”

The Cowgirls (5-24, 1-15 in the Southland Conference) won for the first time since beating Division III Centenary at home on Dec. 14. They had last beaten a Division I opponent back on March 6, 2023, when they toppled New Orleans 87-82 in the SLC tournament opener.

The Huskies fell to 6-21, 1-15.

“It was the first time in more than a month we wanted it more I thought,” said Kennedy. “We were aggressive and poised and we executed.”

Mireia Yespes led four Cowgirls in double figures with 23 points. Emilia Tenbrock added 16 while Azjah Reeves had 14 and Julia Puente Valverde netted 12. 

 “All the work we did we finally put it together,” said Yespes. “We kept working all the time.”

The Cowgirls were in control most of the night but a late Huskies run made things interesting. Hannah Fields hit a pair of free throws with 1:54 to pull HCU to 64-60. 

But this time there was no turning back for McNeese. Yespes followed her own missed shot with a rebound bucket and her two free throws with 1:09 left put the Cowgirls back up 68-62.

Reeves and fellow freshman Boston Berry each scored to finish things off for McNeese.

“This time we just enjoyed it and executed,” Yespes said.

McNeese led 17-16 after one quarter and 38-24 at the half. The Cowgirls led 52-41 after three before the Huskies made their late rally. 

Erin Maguire led HCU with 17 points while Enya Maguire added 15.

Clara Rosini had 13 rebounds for the Cowgirls as both Reeves and Tenbrock played all 40 minutes.

McNeese will finish the home portion of its schedule Saturday when it takes on Nicholls at 1 p.m. The Colonels won the first meeting back on Feb. 17 81-67 in Thibodaux. 

The Cowgirls will then end their season next Wednesday at New Orleans.