With two weeks left in the regular season, the UTPB women’s basketball team hasn’t been able to shake off its misfortune in close games.

After building an early double-digit lead, the Falcons saw Texas A&M-Kingsville steal the momentum late in the fourth quarter Saturday at the Falcon Dome.

UTPB suffered a 71-69 loss in Lone Star Conference play.

“We’re confident that we can play with everybody,” UTPB coach Rae Boothe said. “Where our confidence may drop is finishing close games just because it’s happened to us so much.

“That’s just an area we’ve got to get better at and hopefully we can do that going into next week.”

Two quick 3-pointers from Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Kryslyn Jones didn’t discourage the Falcons in the early minutes of the game, as they managed to outscore the visitors 18-1 to close out the opening quarter.

Ogechi Nwodo and Holly Hemmeline led UTPB to one of its faster offensive starts of the season, combining for 12 points in the first quarter.

A rebounding edge helped the Falcons set up their offense to find open shooters on the perimeter by drawing multiple defenders into the paint through the first half.

The approach was slowed down at the start of the second quarter, as the Javelinas found their shooting form by making 50% of their shots.

They cut into UTPB’s lead with 7-0 scoring run and outscored the Falcons 22-17 to trail by five points at halftime.

Texas A&M-Kingsville briefly grabbed a one-point lead with four minutes left in the third quarter, but couldn’t build on it as UTPB’s Alexus Wykoff established herself as a scoring threat under the basket.

She scored six points to help the Falcons outscore the Javelinas 13-6 to take an eight-point advantage into the fourth.

“One thing we’ve lacked here, I feel like, in our program is a dominant five and the fact that we have a couple of them that can really go to work at times is fantastic,” Boothe said.

The game’s final period is where things took a negative turn for UTPB, even after holding a 10-point lead.

Texas A&M-Kingsville slowly cut into the Falcons lead by converting timely free throws and using their speed to get past UTPB’s defenders in the paint for layups.

Jones hit a 3-pointer to put the Javelinas up by one point with two minutes left in regulation and Mia Cherry extended the advantage by finishing a contested midrange jumper.

The Falcons had a chance to tie the game up after a free throw make from Ally Haman, but a layup attempt from Nwodo rolled out of the basket with 44 seconds left.

UTPB couldn’t get a final shot off and saw its winning streak end at two games.

Boothe said one of the game’s most impactful plays came off her team’s final missed layup, when the Falcons weren’t ready to grab an offensive rebound.

“We need to make sure we have complete games all the way around the board,” Boothe said. “We’ve gotten so comforable with [Nwodo] making it, that we didn’t go rebound.

“We missed that rebound and second chance opportunity, which would have tied the game.”

Hemmeline and Wykoff were UTPB’s leading scorers, recording 17 points each.

The Falcons (6-18 overall, 2-10 conference) face Oklahoma Christian at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Oklahoma City, Okla.

>> Follow Chris Amaya on Twitter at @OA_CAmaya

Texas A&M-Kingsville 71, UTPB 69

TEXAS A&M-KINGSVILLE (16-7, 9-3 Lone Star Conference)

Georgia Ohiaeri 7-12 3-6 17, Devon Williams 0-2 1-2 1, Brianna Pena 2-4 1-2 5, Mia Rivers 0-3 4-6 4, Kryslyn Jones 6-10 1-2 17, Anastacia Mickens 4-12 2-3 10, Mia Cherry 5-10 3-3 15, Janessa Payne 0-3 0-0 0, Veyda Lake 0-0 0-0 0, Jayde Tschritter 0-1 0-0 0, Annelise Dominguez 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 25-60 15-24 71.

UTPB (6-18, 2-10)

Morgan Helgesen 2-6 0-0 5, Ogechi Nwodo 5-10 1-2 11, Kamari Portalis 2-8 1-2 5, Avalon Munoz 1-2 0-0 2, Holly Hemmeline 6-11 0-0 17, Rory Carter 1-6 1-2 4, Kim Best 1-2 2-2 5, Alexus Wykoff 7-9 3-3 17, Diaivian Spencer 0-1 0-0 0, Ally Haman 1-2 1-2 3, Alexis Popham 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-57 9-13 69.

A&M-Kingsville……… 7.. 22   18   24   —    71

UTPB………………….. 18.. 17   20   14   —    69

3-Point goals — Texas A&M-Kingsville 6-22 (Ohiaeri 0-2, Williams 0-1, Rivers 0-2, Jones 4-6, Mickens 0-2, Cherry 2-4, Payne 0-3, Tschritter 0-1, Dominguez 0-1), UTPB 8-22 (Helgesen 1-5, Portalis 0-1, Hemmeline 5-10, Carter 1-4, Best 1-1, Haman 0-1). Total fouls — Texas A&M-Kingsville 18, UTPB 23. Fouled out — Texas A&M-Kingsville (Williams). Technical fouls — None. Rebounds — Texas A&M-Kingsville 28 (Ohiaeri, Rivers 5), UTPB 45 (Nwodo 10). Assists — Texas A&M-Kingsville 12 (Rivers 5), UTPB 13 (Carter 5).