Trojans win nine-straight, 20 games in a season... again.
Photo Courtesy: ASU Athletics
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (UALR) -- UALR (20-7, 12-6 Sun Belt) tallied its second 9-game winning streak of the season and the 7th-consecutive 20-win campaign thanks to a 60-43 win over Florida Atlantic (12-15, 9-10 SBC) Saturday afternoon (Feb. 23) in Boca Raton, Fla.
UALR shot 53.3 percent (24-45) from the field and held Florida Atlantic to a season-low 27.8 percent (15-54). The Trojans made all four shots from behind the arc while holding FAU to 16.7 percent (2-12). The Trojans won on the boards 35-30 and made a season-best 12 thefts. Individually, junior Taylor Ford and sophomore Taylor Gault paced the Trojans with 11 points apiece.
Sophomore Kiera Clark chipped in 10 points. Sophomore Ka'Nesheia Cobbins and freshman Shanity James led a balanced rebounding effort with six boards each.
Breana Turner was held to 3-14 from the field, but went 9-10 from the line to lead the Owls with 15 points. Ashley Stevenson came off the bench for a game-best seven boards.
UALR trailed 4-2 early before a 17-2 run gave the visitors the lead for good. Clark tied the game on a mid-range jumper and Ford hit a three on an assist from Cobbins to put the Trojans up. James grabbed a steal and threw it to Cobbins for the fast break lay-up and the 9-4 lead with 14:54 left in the first half.
Florida Atlantic responded with a basket, but 10 unanswered gave the Trojans a double-digit edge. Ford hit a jumper with a toe on the line and Cobbins made a lay-up while being fouled. Ford drove inside for another basket and Gault beat the Owls down the floor off an inbounds pass from Clark. Gault put the exclamation point on the spurt with an elbow jumper that bounced around the rim and fell. UALR led 19-6 with 10 minutes remaining in the half.
UALR finished the half with seven-straight to take its largest lead of the game. Up 29-17, Junior Hannah Fohne made a fast break layup on an outlet from Cobbins. Cobbins then hit a pair from the line. After a stop, senior Janette Merriex capped the half with a triple. The Trojans led 36-17 at the break.
The Trojans shot a season-half best 68.2 percent (15-22) from the field while holding FAU to 22.2 percent (6-27), including 1-9 (11.1 percent) from beyond the arc.
Florida Atlantic rallied to bring the game within seven in the second half, but UALR held on for the victory. With the Owls facing a 50-38 deficit, FAU's Turner hit 5-of-6 from the charity stripe to cut it to 50-43 with 5:18 left.
UALR held FAU scoreless over the final five minutes and went on a 10-0 run of its own to close out the game. Gault hit a free throw line jumper before Ford drew a charge on the defensive end. FAU was then whistled for a technical and Gault hit the ensuing free throws to push the lead back to double-digits. With the ball, James grabbed an offensive rebound and recorded the put-back for the 13-point advantage. Fohne scored a pair off buckets off of offensive rebounds to close out the game as UALR won by 17.
With the victory, UALR finishes 8-4 against the SBC East and 7-3 in conference road games.
The Trojans will be out for revenge on Thursday (Feb. 28) when they host Louisiana Lafayette. The Ragin' Cajuns defeated UALR 56-54 in double overtime on Dec. 27, 2012.
Matthew L. Lofton:Sports Information Assistant