UALR Women’s Hoops Drops UT Arlington for 10th Straight Win

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LITTLE ROCK, AR – The UALR women’s basketball team had a fight on its hands through 10 minutes. But in the final 10 minutes of the first half, the Trojans delivered a series of knockout punches.

UALR went on a 19-4 run to close the first half against UT Arlington and rode that lead to a 66-38 victory over the Mavericks at the Jack Stephens Center on Saturday afternoon. The win was the Trojans’ 10th straight and kept the team perfect in Sun Belt Conference play

UALR (16-2, 9-0 Sun Belt) continued its impressive streak of 20-point conference victories while holding UT Arlington (9-9, 3-6) to their lowest point total of the season.

Shanity James led UALR in scoring for the second straight game with 17 points, and her eight rebounds was a team high for the third consecutive outing. James just missed her third straight double-double. Also reaching double-digit points for UALR was Taylor Gault with 13 and Keanna Keys with a season-high 12.

The Trojan victory continues the team’s best-ever beginning to a year, as the team had never before won 16 games in its first 18 tries. The team has also won 19 straight conference wins at home 12 straight regular-season conference wins overall and three straight against UT Arlington.

The win was also the 350th in program history.

The Mavericks entered Saturday’s game with the second-best defense in the conference, giving up only 58.6 points per league game. UTA showed its defensive skills early on, as UALR trailed for most of the first nine minutes before taking over for good.

But the Trojans came back on a sequence of nice plays by Keys, taking a lead for the first time in the game when she made two free throws, got a defensive and offensive rebound and then converted a layup. Keys’ 4 quick points made it a 12-9 game midway through the half.

At the third media timeout, the Trojans led 15-12 on an Alexius Dawn 3-pointer, and two free throws from Kiera Clark right after the break made it a 17-12 game. James stole the ball on the Mavericks’ next possession, and she raced down the court for a fast-break layup to make it a 7-0 UALR run.

The Mavericks ended the run with four straight points after that, cutting the Trojans’ lead to 19-16 with 4:31 minutes to play in the period. But UALR would end the half in style, doubling its score in the last four minutes while allowing just 4 Mavericks points in that span.

Shanity James had 6 straight points to give the Trojans a 25-18 lead, and Clark got two free throws in before James added another layup. The Mavericks got frustrated after that, as Alyson Te’o was charged with an offensive foul and then earned a technical foul for arguing the call. Gault drained both technical free throws, and James added a layup to make it 33-18 with 90 seconds left in the half.

Two Keys free throws were nearly the end of UALR’s scoring in the half and capped a 14-0 run, but Ka’Nesheia Cobbins – a senior –ended things on a high note by sinking a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, the first 3-pointer of her career.

UALR led 38-20 at the break behind 14 points from James and 8 by Keys. Also impressively, the Trojans had no turnovers in the first half and shot 12 of 13 from the free-throw line. UTA also became the seventh straight opponent that UALR held to 20 points or fewer in the first half.

Cobbins would finish the game leading UALR with five assists while James added three to break 100 for her career. She also had a game-high two blocks. Clark had 8 points in the contest to reach 800 in her career, and four different Trojans added five rebounds apiece (Cobbins, Clark, Gault, Keys).

Overall, UALR shot 41.5 percent from the field but held UT Arlington to just 32.6 percent shooting. The Mavericks committed 17 turnovers, and UALR got 17 points off of them.

After ending the first half on that exciting run, UALR continued to roll in the second half. The Trojans outscored the Mavericks by 10 points in the half, emptying the bench with four minutes to play as a victory was in hand. UALR led by as many as 32 points in the second half.

The Trojans were also impressive at the free-throw line, knocking down 19 of 22 shots while taking advantage of an aggressive UT Arlington defense. Gault moved up to second all-time at UALR in attempted free throws with five chances from the line.

The Trojans have a big game in store next, as they will travel to Jonesboro to take on Arkansas State on Thursday. UALR and Arkansas State, the top two teams in the Sun Belt, are on schedule for a 5:05 p.m. tipoff.

(Courtesy: UALR Sports Information)

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