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Trojans Fly by Owls

The Trojans used a pair of double-digit runs in the first half and the Owls could not recover as UALR (12-7, 5-6 Sun Belt) dominated Florida Atlantic 77-45 Wednesday (Jan. 23) at the Jack Stephens Center.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The Trojans used a pair of double-digit runs in the first half and the Owls could not recover as UALR (12-7, 5-6 Sun Belt) dominated Florida Atlantic 77-45 Wednesday (Jan. 23) at the Jack Stephens Center. The Trojans remain perfect in the eight-game series with FAU, dating back to the 2006-07 season.

UALR rushed out to a 47-21 advantage at the break thanks to a 30-8 edge on the boards. For the game, UALR out-rebounded Florida Atlantic 56-26. The Trojans made 45.2 percent (28-62) of their shots in the contest, holding the Owls to 28.8 percent (17-59).

The Trojans grabbed 20 offensive boards and eclipsed the half-century mark in total rebounds for the second time this season (Troy, Nov. 29). In fact, freshman Shanity James had more offensive rebounds (five) than every other player Florida Atlantic player had in total rebounds except Chenise Miller.

Individually, James recorded her first double-double with 11 points and 13 boards. Sophomore Taylor Gault led all scorers with 17 points while Taylor Ford added 16 points and nine boards. Sophomore Kiera Clark tallied 14 points.

Florida Atlantic's Kimberly Smith scored 10 points. Miller, who leads Florida Atlantic with 14.8 points per game, was held to seven points and eight boards.

UALR put the pressure to Florida Atlantic early and never let up. Tied at 13 seven minutes in, Ford kicked off a 12-0 Trojan run with a pair from the line. She then grabbed a defensive board and hit Clark in stride for the fastbreak layup. James got into the act when she grabbed a defensive board, hit sophomore Ka'Nesheia Cobbins, who found Clark under the hoop. Clark was fouled on the shot and hit both from the charity stripe as UALR led by six. A Clark mid-range jumper and offensive rebound and put back around a pair from the line by Ford put UALR up 25-13 with 9:58 left.

Up 27-16, Gault scored the next nine points to etch her name in the UALR career record books. She started the solo spurt when Florida Atlantic left her alone behind the arc. After a jumper, she grabbed a UALR missed free throw and split the defense for the layup. Gault capped the solo run with another layup for her 828th career point, passing Eplunus Brooks (1999-03) on the Trojans all-time scoring list.

Gault's 11th-point for the game ignited an 11-0 run by the Trojans. Senior Janette Merriex scored on a drive followed an offensive put back by James. Gault scored on a fast break and James split from the line. A mid-range jumper created by Clark's shot fake beyond the arc put UALR up 45-18 with 2:19 left until intermission. Florida Atlantic made 3-4 from the line to climb within 24, but UALR used the final 50 seconds of the half thanks to a Clark rebound and a junior Hannah Fohne lay-up to go up 47-21 at the break.

UALR wasted no time to take a 30-point lead and kept it there for the remaining of the game. After the Trojans forced an FAU missed shot, Ford grabbed the board and found James on a fastbreak to go up 28. James grabbed another offensive rebound and hit a pair from the line to give UALR the 51-21 lead with 19:14 left in the game. Breanna Turner answered with a jumper for the visitors, but a Cobbins layup sparked an 8-0 UALR run. A pair of lay-ups by James and one by Cobbins put UALR in the lead, 59-23, with 14:17 left.

Florida Atlantic did cut it to 31 with four minutes left, but Ford answered with a pair of triples to put UALR up 34. A Turner buzzer-beater was the final basket as the game as UALR won 77-45. It matched the largest victory for UALR this season (79-47 over Oral Roberts on Nov. 21, 2011).

UALR returns to action Saturday when it travels to Denton, Texas to take on North Texas. The tip-off of the final SBC game between the Mean Green and Trojans is set for 5 p.m.

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