There was definitely a bit of a hometown feel for Midwestern State's Kirsti Degelia and Taylor Dowd Wednesday night at Kitty Magee Arena in Denton, as the duo played a key role in lift the Mustangs to a 67-53 win over Texas Woman's University.
Degelia, a junior guard from nearby Krum High, was nearly flawless in delivering a game-high 25 points on 6-of-8 shooting for her third 25-plus game over her last four outings.
"Kirsti swells with pride when she plays in front of the home crowd in Denton," MSU coach Noel Johnson said. "She really took control and was able to hit some shots just like she was in the gym shooting alone. Kirsti has flipped the switch. This is the Kirsti that I've told her we need to play from here on out. I'm not only proud of her heart, her hustle and her ability but also of her leadership."
Playing in front of a big contingent from hometown Valley View Elementary, Dowd scored all six of her points in the second half including a big block and a rebound.
"I'm going to have to get on her because we need that form her all the time," Johnson joked. "Taylor was able to get in and get some minutes and just rocked it."
The Mustangs ran out to a quick 9-2 lead. Degelia hit four free throws after Ashley Rush bombed in a 3-pointer to key the early run.
The Mustangs led by as many as 11 in the opening half after Degelia scored six points in an 8-0 to push the advantage to 26-15 with 2:42 to play in the first half.
The Pioneers rallied to within five points at the half and clawed back to within 40-35 after sophomore Toree Mason scored four consecutive points with 12:01 to play.
"We knew we were going to have the control the boards," Johnson said. "They are so dynamic with the way they go to the glass and score points off of that. They have a very good continuity offense which gets harder to guard as the year goes along and start getting chemistry."
The Mustangs answered with a traditional three-point play by Lisa Hampton and Degelia splashed in her second trey of the game from the corner to push the lead back out into double figures at 46-35.
The Mustangs would stretch the lead to as many as 18 points late.
"Our girls came in with the mentality they have to be consistent on the road," Johnson said. "It's almost like we are playing better on the road than at home right now."
Sophomore forward Andrea Carter notched her eighth double-double of the season with 13 points and 14 rebounds as the Mustangs limited the Pioneers to five second-chance points and won the battle on the boards by 10 (42-32).
Sophomore guard Shatoia Gober added 10 points and eight rebounds as the Mustangs were playing without starting point guard Dianna Jones, who suffered an ankle injury in Saturday's win over Tarleton State.
Midwestern State claimed its season-best fifth straight win to improve to 12-3 on the season and 7-2 in league play while Texas Woman's dropped to 5-10 and 3-6.
The Mustangs take on Cameron Wednesday night at Aggie Gym in Lawton. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.