HOUSTON - Despite Kaitlyn Palmer tying her career-high with 29 points, she and the Texas Southern Lady Tigers were unable to overcome Weber State during the opening round of the Postseason Women's Basketball Invitational. TSU fell 66-56 Thursday night in HPE Arena.
A back-and-forth contest early on, Texas Southern -- who were without Player of the Year Joyce Kennerson for the second-straight game -- managed a slim 16-13 lead at the end of one thanks to a Palmer three-ball with a minute left in the quarter.
Palmer continued to carry the TSU (19-13) offense as the Lady Tigers pushed their lead to as many as seven with 6:30 left in the second quarter, but Weber State's Larryn Brooks sparked a 15-3 Wildcats run that allowed WSU to take a 36-31 lead into the lockers. Brooks scored 14 of her team-best 26 points in the period.
In the third quarter, Emily Drake converted a lay-up to open the frame and push Weber State's lead to seven. This time, it was the Lady Tigers who stormed back into the thick of it, as Palmer scored four points to kick off a 9-0 TSU run. The sides remained even the rest of the period, until Chynna Ewing pick-pocketed Drake and cashed-in with a fast break lay-up to put Texas Southern ahead 48-46 with 19 ticks left.
Texas Southern lost its handle on matters in the fourth. After Palmer knocked down a jumper to increase Texas Southern's advantage to 52-48 with just under seven-and-a-half minutes left, Weber State found its stroke from beyond the arc as Brooks buried one from deep to tie matters at 54, and Drake followed with a long-ball to put the Wildcats ahead 57-54. Weber State outscored Texas Southern 9-2 the rest of the way, as the Lady Tigers missed their final six shot attempts.
For Texas Southern, this closes a 2017-18 campaign where TSU became the first SWAC program to host a postseason tournament game. Texas Southern is expected to return Kennerson, who ranks among the nation's leading scorers, and Ewing, who scored 15 points in this game. The Lady Tigers lose Palmer and center Taylor Robinson to graduation.