|Updated: 1/19/2012 9:08 am
||Published: 1/18/2012 10:12 pm
LITTLE ROCK – Senior Britteni Williams scored a team-high 15 points and grabbed a career-best 13 rebounds to help lead the UALR Trojans (9-10, 4-2 SBC) to a 56-45 win over Louisiana-Lafayette (5-13, 0-6 SBC) Wednesday night at the Jack Stephens Center. Williams’ presence inside helped the Trojans to a +13 margin on the glass (45-to-32) and a +16 advantage (38-to-22) on points in the paint.
“Britteni did a great job,” said head coach Joe Foley. “She’s playing with her heart. She’s playing as hard as she can play and tonight she pretty well carried us, and that’s what seniors do.”
Williams was one of three UALR players to score in double figures on the night, as freshman Taylor Gault contributed 14 while dishing out eight assists, and senior Marian Kursh scored 10 to go along with six rebounds and a block.
The Trojans’ +16 rebounding margin included a +8 advantage on the offensive glass (18-to-10). Williams secured seven offensive boards on her own, while junior Jannette Merriex and Kursh combined for six.
After two ties and two lead changes in the opening six minutes of the contest, a layup by Williams at the 13:13 mark gave the Trojans a one-point advantage, 12-11, that would not be relinquished the rest of the game.
A layup by Merriex and a jumper by sophomore Taylor Ford followed to build a five-point lead for UALR, while back-to-back layups by Williams put the Trojans up eight, 23-15, with 3:50 remaining in the opening frame. The lead would grow as large as 10 twice in the first half, the last of which coming on another Williams layup at the 1:17 mark before two quick ULL buckets inside the final minute brought the score to 29-23 at the half.
The Cajuns cut the deficit to one with a 9-4 run to open the second half. Three straight layups by ULL’s Josie West made the score 33-32 at the 15:26 mark, but that would be as close as the Cajuns would get, as UALR answered with a 12-0 run over the next 5:58 to push their lead to 13, 45-32.
ULL would get no closer than 10 the rest of the way, with UALR’s lead climbing as high as 15 after a jumper by freshman Kiera Clark at the 1:36 dropped to make it 56-41.
The Trojans won the turnover battle on the night, committing 13 to the Cajuns’ 16, and were able to convert that advantage into a 21-to-4 edge in points off turnovers. UALR also held a strong edge in transition, outscoring ULL 12-0 in fastbreak points.
The UALR defense held ULL to a 34.0 percent shooting night (18-for-53), including a paltry 11.8 percent (2-for-17) from beyond the arc. The two teams combined to shoot just 16 free throws on the night, with ULL going 7-of-9 (77.8 percent) and the Trojans shooting 2-of-5 (40.0 percent).
UALR returns to action Sunday as they travel to Bowling Green, Ky., to take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at 2 p.m.