LITTLE ROCK – Taylor Gault scored 29 points to set a new season high, Kiera Clark added 13 points and seven rebounds, and the UALR women’s basketball team outlasted a feisty UT Arlington 69-60 at the Jack Stephens Center on Saturday evening.
UALR led 3-0 in the game but would trail for most of the rest of the night. The Trojans, down by as many as 11, fought back slowly but surely throughout the contest, finally regaining control with seven minutes to play.
UALR (14-10, 9-5 Sun Belt Conference) has now won four straight games for the first time all season and remained undefeated at home in conference play with their win over UTA (3-22, 2-12).
Gault had one of her best all-around games of the season, slashing to the basket to draw fouls while also dishing the ball to teammates for baskets. She took 16 free throws – making 12 – and added four assists and a career-high six steals. Shanity James also had a strong night in spite of four trouble, filling up the stat sheet with 10 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Trailing by seven at the start of the second half, UALR cut that deficit to four quickly when Gault drained a fast-break layup and Clark got a layup of her own on the next possession.
The Trojans slowly gained momentum over the rest of the half, cutting the lead as time went on. With eight minutes left, UALR tied the game at 45-45. A Clark and-one layup gave the Trojans a 48-45 advantage, their first lead since 3-0. That was part of a 10-0 run that spanned six minutes as the Mavericks went scoreless for the middle of the half.
Gault made baskets on consecutive possessions to put the team up 53-47 with 5:30 on the clock, and she stole the ball when UTA had it next to give Clark a fast-break layup. The Trojans, ahead 55-47 at that point, had their biggest lead of the night.
UTA got it as close as three points after that, but the Trojans continued to stretch their advantage with late free throws and layups inside.
As a team, UALR shot 46.9 percent from the field, making 23 of their 49 shots. The team also earned 22 points off turnovers compared to the Mavericks’ 12 in that category.
The teams’ lifetime series is now tied at 2-2, and the victory was UALR’s seventh straight at home.
UTA began the game on fire from downtown, nailing their first four 3-point attempts to take an 18-10 lead at the second media timeout. The Trojans, meanwhile, were just 3 of 8 from the field and had five turnovers.
That trend continued for the rest of the period with UT knocking down 5 of 7 from long range and making all 10 of their free throws as the Trojans fouled. UALR got as close as five in the half, but went into the break trailing 37-30.
Laila Suleiman was the biggest threat to UALR, draining four 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes. But she was silences after that, as UALR allowed just one Mavericks 3-pointer in the second half and forced UTA into 24 total turnovers on the night. The Mavericks only shot 34.6 percent in the second half, making nine of their 26 attempts.
During the game, Gault reached 100 career 3-pointers while also moving up from 11th all-time at UALR to seventh in made free throws. She also moved up to eighth all-time in steals.
Up next for the Trojans is their final road game of the regular season. UALR will travel to Troy, Ala., to take on the conference’s other set of Trojans. Troy and UALR will tip off on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Courtesy: UALR Sports Information