Courtesy University of Arkansas at Little Rock Athletics Department
The Opening Tip
Two of the hottest teams at the moment square off Thursday night (Feb. 7) when UALR (15-7, 7-6 SBC) visits ULM (6-15, 4-8) for a 5:15 p.m. tip-off. The Trojans hold the second-longest winning streak in the conference (four games) while the Warhawks are third, winning their last three.
Unable to attend? There are multiple ways you can follow all the action. If you want to listen to audio, you can hear Phil Elson (Play-by-Play) either on terrestrial radio at 920 AM or via the world wide web by clicking here. For subscription video, you can watch on ULM’s athletic web site by clicking here. Finally, live stats can be found here.
Something has to give when UALR (15-7, 7-6) travels to ULM Thursday (Feb. 7). The Trojans have won their last four while the Warhawks are on a three-game winning streak.
Junior Taylor Ford has reached double-digits in points the last four games, averaging 14.5 points in those contests.
Since 2005-06, UALR is one of four teams (UCONN, Rutgers and Marist) to be in the top-50 in defensive scoring.
The Trojans are a 31-0 all-time, 24-0 under head coach Joe Foley, when allowing the opposition 40 points or less in a game.
ULM is on its first three-game winning streak since Dec. 21-31, 2011 (beat Nicholls State, WKU and Arkansas St.)
The Warhawks enter Thursday’s (Feb. 7) contest with a 6-15 overall record and 4-8 mark in conference play. Beginning 1-8 in SBC action, ULM has won its last three by defeating Troy and sweeping the two Florida schools in south Florida this past week.
In their last contest, the Warhawks overcame an early deficit to win 71-61 over FIU in Miami, Fla. Alexar Tuglar led the way for ULM with 18 points while Jasmine Shaw added 12. Ashleigh Simmons chipped-in 11 while Alayshia Hunter came off the bench for 11.
UALR’s league-best field-goal defense (32.2 percent) may be put to the test. While ULM hit 36.5 percent (379-1039) in its first 18 games of 2012-13, the Warhawks are on fire in their three-game winning streak, hitting 50.0 percent (83-166). Averaging 56.4 points through its first 18 games, ULM has raised its season average nearly four points thanks to 80 points per game in its last three contests.
Flashback to Earlier this Year
The Trojans scored 16 of the game’s first 19 points and never led by less than 12 the rest of the way as UALR (6-1, 2-0 Sun Belt) claimed a 71-54 victory over ULM (1-6, 0-2 SBC) Saturday night (Dec. 1) at the Jack Stephens Center.
The Trojans shot 50 percent from the field (28-56) and held ULM to 30.8 percent (16-52). UALR scored 16 points off of 17 ULM turnovers while UALR only allowed two on eight miscues. ULM out-rebounded UALR 42-34.
Senior Janette Merriex hit 6-10 from the field, including 3-10 from behind the arc, for 16 points. Sophomore Taylor Gault also had 16 while classmate Kiera Clark added nine points and nine boards.
Alexar Tugler led ULM with 12 points while Alayshia Hunter came off the bench for 10. Ashleigh Simmons led all rebounders in the game with 11.
Career Records Watch
A trio of players have their eyes on the UALR career record book. Senior Janette Merriex is third with 152 career threes, 60 behind second-place Jocelyn Love (2003-07). Junior Taylor Ford is sixth with 248 assists, 30 behind Pam Tiller (1981-85). Finally, sophomore Taylor Gault is already 10th with 863 points, 120 behind ninth-place B.J. Higginbotham (1978-81).
Defense is the Name of the Game
Starting the 2005-06 season 11-3 overall, UALR was 33rd in the country while surrendering only 53.6 points per game. The Trojans then went on a four game losing streak, giving up an average of 64.5 points to fall to 56th in the country.
In its current four-game winning streak, UALR is allowing an average of 44.75 points and is now 38th in defense, allowing 54.0 points per game.
Including this season, UALR is one of only four teams in the nation who can claim a top-50 ranking in scoring defense since the 2005-06 season (UCONN, Rutgers and Marist).
Free Throw Turnaround
In the first 12 games, UALR was shooting 56.4 percent (132-234) from the line. Thus far in 2013, UALR has made 68.3 percent (125-183), including 72.4 percent (92-127) in its last six games. Last in the conference for the majority of the season. UALR is now ninth at 61.6 percent (257-417).
Thanks for Playing
UALR will be completing its fifth regular season conference series against ULM. Meanwhile, the Trojans have yet to meet league-rival and SBC West-leading Arkansas State (Feb. 13). In fact, UALR completed the season sweep at Troy (71-50) on Jan. 5. Most teams were starting conference play that weekend.
In other completed season series, UALR swept South Alabama, split with North Texas and was swept by WKU.
House of Horrors (for Opponents)
The Jack Stephens Center has been quite the home venue throughout the years. UALR is 97-20 since it opened before the 2005-06 season (.829), including a 55-11 (.833) mark in Sun Belt Conference play.
The UALR record for consecutive home wins is 29 from 1/23/07 (a victory over Harding) to 1/17/09 (a loss in overtime to Middle Tennessee). That includes the last six home games of 2006-07 through the first nine home games of 2008-09.
2011-12 was certainly an aberration, but UALR ended the season strong. After losing four of the first six in Little Rock, the Trojans bounced back and won 9 of its next 10.
In conference play, UALR is even hotter with as many SBC losses the last five years as in the first two years the Jack Stephens Center was open. UALR’s average margin of victory in home games this season is 15.9.
Trojans Rewind: South Alabama
The Trojans held the Jaguars to 13 first half points and never looked back as UALR blasted South Alabama 65-34 Saturday (Feb. 2) at the Jack Stephens Center.
UALR tallied a season-high 23 assists against only 10 turnovers. The Trojans also shot a season-best 54.9 percent (28-51) from the field. South Alabama was held to 24.4 percent (11-45) shooting.
Junior Taylor Ford reached the double-digit plateau for the fourth-straight game, scoring 16 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out six assists. Sophomore Ka’Nesheia Cobbins recorded a career-best seven assists against only one turnover.