UALR women edge ASU

In the battle of the two hottest shooting teams in the Sun Belt Conference, it was the home team who came out on top. However, it was a Trojans 40-29 rebounding edge that allowed UALR (17-7, 9-6 SBC) to pull out the hard-fought 54-50 win over Arkansas State (13-12, 10-6 SBC) Wednesday (Feb. 13) at the Convocation Center in Jonesboro, Ark.

ASU held a 45.7 percent (21-46) to 38.7 percent (24-62) edge in shooting, but UALR answered with 16 more shots thanks to 17 forced turnovers and a 16-4 advantage on the offensive glass. The Trojans outscored the Red Wolves 13-0 in second-chance points.

Outscoring its opponents 37-2 off of offensive boards in the last two games, UALR moved to a season-best 10 games over .500.

Individually, a trio of UALR starters reached double-digits in scoring. Junior Taylor Ford recorded 16 points for the third time in six games. Sophomore Kiera Clark added 14 points, including 12 points on 6-10 shooting in the second half.

Sophomore Ka'Nesheia Cobbins scored 13 points while freshman Shanity James grabbed a game-high nine boards.

Jalen O'Bannon led the Red Wolves with 16 points and seven defensive rebounds. Jane Morrill added 13 points.

It was lucky sevens for UALR in the first half as a pair of 7-0 runs gave UALR the 25-23 at break. Tied at six, Ford hit a triple at the top of the arc and followed that with an offensive board and stick back. Ford then grabbed a steal and missed the ensuing lay-up, but Cobbins was right there for the tip-in. UALR led 13-6.

The home team quickly answered with six unanswered of its own, but the Trojans countered with another 7-0 run. James grabbed a missed shot and made the layup to ignite the spurt. Ford split from the line and Cobbins sprinted down the court on a junior Hannah Fohne defensive rebound to put UALR up by six. Freshman Carolee Dillard punctuated the run when she cleaned up a Ford missed jumper with 5:24 left.

With UALR leading 22-14, the Red Wolves finished the half on a 9-3 run. Morrill started it off for ASU with an old-fashioned three and a pair from the line. Freshman Morgan Bolton doubled the UALR lead when she swished a three from the right corner, but an O'Bannon layup and a Morrill jumper cut the UALR advantage to two at intermission.

Arkansas State came out in the second half and took its only lead of the game, 29-27, with 14:32 left. Just 40 seconds later, Fohne grabbed the defensive board and threw down to Cobbins underneath the basket. She made the hoop under duress and made the ensuing free throw to give UALR the lead for good.

Tied at 32, the Trojans ripped off 10 unanswered to take 42-32 lead with 9:08 left. Ford started the run with a jumper and Clark added the layup for the four-point lead to force an ASU timeout. Clark then stole the ball and hit Ford on a drive for the lay-up. Fohne and Clark hit a pair of jumpers to push the lead to 10.

UALR led 48-43 when Cobbins again completed a three the hard way to give UALR an eight-point edge. Arkansas State cut the deficit to four with 43 seconds left, but the Red Wolves missed their final three shots as the Trojans hung on for the 54-50 win.

UALR returns to action Saturday (Feb. 16) when it hosts SBC East-leading Middle Tennessee. Tip time is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.