ABILENE, Texas – Hardin-Simmons' women's basketball team went into the Christmas break on a high note as it beat nationally-ranked UT Dallas 67-66 in American Southwest Conference action on Tuesday afternoon at the Mabee Complex.
It was the first win for the Cowgirls over a ranked team since a 2009 win over Howard Payne.
The win also snapped a four-game losing skid for the Cowgirls and pushed their record to 8-4 overall and 2-2 in conference play. UT-Dallas, which is ranked No. 20 and No. 23 in the two major national polls, fell to 6-3 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
The two teams traded three lead changes and four ties in the first half and were tied at 24. UTD went 8-for-20 at the free throw line in the first half.
HSU opened up a lead in the third quarter with a 16-6 run that gave them a 43-33 lead on a Taylor Gaffney 3-pointer with 3:22 to play in the quarter. Freshman Samantha Newton had nine of the Cowgirls' points in the run. UTD cut the deficit to 45-41 at the end of the quarter.
The Cowgirls were able to finish off the close game in the fourth quarter. Keilee Burke and Kiana Reed hit back-to-back jumpers to give HSU a 63-55 lead with 2:05 to play but UTD came right back. The Comets scored 11 of the next 14 points to tie the game at :17 on a Katie Gunther lay-up with :17 to play.
Kaitlyn Ellis then was fouled going in for the game winner and she split a pair of free throws. Raenett Hughes had the ball poked away by Gaffney and the Cowgirls prevailed.
Gaffney led four Cowgirls in double-figure scoring with 21 points. Samantha Newton added 13 points, Maria Fernandez had 11 points and six assists and Kaitlyn Ellis added 10 points. Keilee Burke had the third double-figure rebounding effort of the season with 14 rebounds.
Hughes had 17 points to pace the Comets and Victoria Pena added 15. HSU will now be off until it returns to the court Jan. 3 at LeTourneau.
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