UALR Captures 6th-Straight Outright SBC West Title with Win over ASU

Courtesy University of Arkansas at Little Rock Athletics Department

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Trojans already clinched their 6th-straight Sun Belt Conference West Division title. They just felt like adding the word outright.

UALR (22-7) notched its 100th victory at the Jack Stephens Center with a 58-50 win over Arkansas State (15-14, 12-8 SBC) Saturday (March 2).

The Trojans kept numerous streaks alive in the victory. UALR now has won 11-straight overall and its 10th consecutive in conference play. UALR also won its 83rd-straight game, including the last six to end the regular season, when it holds the opponents to 50 points or less.

UALR shot 56.5 percent (12-23) in the second half alone and 44.0 percent (22-50) for the ballgame. Arkansas State was nearly as hot, hitting 43.5 percent of its shots, but UALR forced 23 Red Wolves turnovers and converted them into 22 points.

Individually, a trio of Trojans scored a game-best 13 points. Sophomore Kiera Clark scored 13 points and grabbed a career-high nine boards while freshman Shanity James added 13 points and eight boards. Junior Taylor Ford scored 13 points, 11 of which came in the second half.

Sophomore Ka’Nesheia Cobbins added 12 points, five boards and four steals.

Ashley Olvera paced the Red Wolves with 12 points. Jalen O’Bannon added 11 before fouling out while Hannah Qedan chipped in 10 points.

UALR took it to Arkansas State early with a 10-0 run. Tied at four, Clark hit 4-of-5 shots from the field and Cobbins capped the spurt with a lay-up as the Trojans led 14-4 with 13:34 left in the first half. ASU fought back and held UALR to three points in the next 10 minutes and took an 18-17 lead. O’Bannon hit a pair from the line and Olvera hit a lay-up to cut the Trojans lead to six. Both teams failed to score the next five minutes before Jane Morrill made a lay-up and cut it to 14-10 with 5:12 until intermission.

UALR stopped the bleeding with Ford’s only jumper of the first half, but Olvera quickly pushed it up the floor and hit a lay-up. Cobbins split from the line, but a pair from the charity stripe and a pair of Olvera lay-ups gave the Red Wolves their first lead. UALR retook the lead, hitting 3-4 from the line and a 24-foot three by freshman Morgan Bolton put UALR back up five. Bolton then hit a pair from the line and Carlisha Wyatt hit a bucket for ASU to end the first half as the Trojans led 25-20 at the break.

The Trojans expanded the lead to 42-34 with 10:51 left, but ASU responded with a 9-0 run to take its lone lead of the second half. Qedan hit the only Red Wolves three of the game and six more points gave ASU a 43-42 edge. Cobbins grabbed a loose ball and split the defenders and made the hoop while being fouled. She completed the old-fashioned three and UALR led 45-43. ASU answered, but a putback off a missed shot by James gave UALR the lead for good. Ford hit a jumper and a Cobbins steal and hoop put UALR up 51-45.

Up 53-50, UALR capped the game with solid defense. James hit a pair from the line and Clark forced a steal and took it right to the hoop for the basket and the harm with 23 ticks left. She hit the free throw as the Trojans beat the Red Wolves by eight.

UALR is 8-0 against Arkansas State since the Jack Stephens Center opened in 2005-06 and has won eight of the last nine against the Red Wolves.

The Trojans return to action Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against the winner of seventh-seeded South Alabama and 10th-seeded Troy on Friday. UALR has kicked off each of its SBC Tournament Titles with a win over South Alabama. UALR has never faced Troy in the postseason.

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