Big Fourth Quarter Pushes Little Rock to Win

Local Sports

MONROE, LA – With just over four minutes to go, Little Rock senior Kyra Collier fouled out as the Trojans held a nine-point lead over ULM. You could practically feel Trojan fans everywhere holding their breath.

They can breathe easy. In fact, it was almost as if there was nothing to worry about. Almost.

Little Rock (7-11, 5-2 Sun Belt) would finish the game on an 11-0 run in those final four minutes and pull away for a 70-50 win at ULM in front of 744 fans at Fant-Ewing Coliseum Thursday evening.

The Trojans would end up relying on a career-high 17 points from Sydney Chastain and a game-high 18 points in a double-double performance from Teal Battle in the 20-point win over the Warhawks (3-15, 1-6), as well as a lock-down defense after Little Rock’s playmaker exited the game.

Credit a Trojan squad that embraced a new situation. Collier, a senior that has started every game this season, is averaging over 38 minutes per game.

The Trojans on the floor over those final minutes forced six missed shots and two turnovers out of ULM, eventually out-scoring the hosts 20-6 in the final quarter.

But Collier, whose effect on the team hardly diminishes when she leaves the floor, still gave Little Rock the opportunity to secure the win. Her 15 points, 10 of which came in the second quarter, took the Trojans from a four-point deficit to a four-point lead entering halftime.

Battle, heeding a season-long call from the Little Rock coaching staff to prevent a third quarter lull, scored nine points in that third frame including a stretch where she scored six straight for the Trojans. She added a game-high 11 rebounds to claim her second career double-double.

Then there was Chastain, who was an ever-present threat throughout the game, playing in all 40 minutes and registering career-highs in points, field goals made, free throws made and matching a career-high in minutes played. She added three assists and two steals to her credit.

The final 11-0 run of the game was made up mostly of Battle and Chastain with an unlikely five points out of Angelique Francis, who connected on a pair of free throw attempts and then hit an off-balance bank three-pointer as the shot clock expired.  

Collier’s six assists in the game would push her over 300 for her career but it would be her encouragement and coaching up her teammates from the bench over the final four minutes that might have been her best assist of the night.

Overall, Little Rock shot 46.4 percent from the field (26 of 56) and forced 22 turnovers out of their opponent for the second straight game. ULM, which shot 39.2 percent from the field, was held to just 2-for-11 shooting (18.2 percent) in the final quarter, missing all four attempts from beyond the arc.

Gara Beth Self led the Warhawks with 14 points while Diamond Brooks added 11.

Little Rock now returns to the Jack Stephens Center to host Appalachian State on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 2 p.m.

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