UALR Women’s Basketball Defense Dazzles in 65-34 win over South Alabama Saturday Night

Courtesy University of Arkansas at Little Rock Athletics Department

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Trojans gave a dominating performance on defense as UALR (15-7, 7-6 Sun Belt) beat South Alabama (12-10, 5-8 SBC) 65-34 Saturday night (Feb. 2) at the Jack Stephens Center.

UALR led from the start of the game as South Alabama recorded a season-low in points. It was the second-least points the Trojans have given up under head coach Joe Foley (33 vs. Loyola Marymount, Dec. 20, 2010) and the third-lowest in school history (28 at Arkansas Baptist Jan. 28, 1986). 

The Trojans finished the game 28-51 from the field, hitting a season-best 54.9 percent of their shots. UALR added a season-high 23 assists, the third-time the Trojans had 20+ helpers for a contest. UALR out-rebounded the Jaguars 38-25 while recording six blocks compared to USA’s one.

South Alabama was held to nine assists and shot 11-45 (24.4 percent).

Individually, junior Taylor Ford matched a career-high with 16 points for the third time in the last four games. She also chipped in with six rebounds, six assists and two steals. Freshman Jakeisha Wells came off the bench for 10 points on 5-6 shooting.

Junior Hannah Fohne contributed a game-best nine boards while adding eight points on 4-6 shooting. Freshman Shanity James was held to four points but grabbed eight rebounds.

For the visitors, Brianna Wright scored 10 points while Ronneka Robertson added six boards. USA’s leading scorer, Mary Nixon, was held to only three points on 1-10 shooting. 

UALR wore down South Alabama early in the game with field goals that just beat the shot clock. The Trojans forced a turnover and Ford hit a jumper with a toe on the line to open up the scoring. Sophomore Ka’Nesheia Cobbins joined the act with a floater in the lane followed by a Fohne jumper just moments later. UALR led 6-2 at the first media timeout.

Ford came out of the breather and hit a triple and a jumper as UALR led 11-2 with six minutes played. Sophomore Taylor Gault and Wells added jumpers around a South Alabama layup to push the lead to 15-5. USA hit a pair from the line to cut the deficit to eight, but UALR responded with 11 straight. Ford pushed the lead to double-digits on a jumper followed by a Gault fastbreak layup. Gault added a triple, Fohne made a layup and Cobbins hit a pair from the line as the Trojans opened up a 26-7 lead with 3:42 left. Robertson stopped the bleeding with a layup, but Cobbins completed a three the hard way to put UALR up 22 points. 

South Alabama cut it to 18 with seconds left in the first half, but UALR whittled down the clock and Ford hit James underneath for the easy basket. The Trojans 33-13 lead at intermission. UALR recorded an assist on 11-of-14 baskets and shot 51.9 percent (14-27) in the first half. 

As good as UALR was in the first half, the numbers were even better in the second. The Trojans had 12 assists on 14 field goals and hit 14-24 (58.3 percent) from the field. South Alabama hit the first bucket after break but could not climb any closer. With UALR up 18, a 10-1 run put the game away. Fohne hit a jumper followed by a Ford layup. USA split from the charity stripe, but Wells hit 3-4 from the field for six-straight points and gave UALR a 45-18 lead with 11:35 left in the game.

Senior Janette Merriex put the exclamation point on the game with a pair of triples in the final minutes of the ballgame to give the Trojans a 65-34 win.

UALR returns to action Thursday (Feb. 7) when it takes on ULM (6-15, 4-8 SBC) in Monroe, La. at 5:15 p.m. The Warhawks have won the last three games, including a sweep at the Florida SBC schools.

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