Women’s basketball clenches Sun Belt seed

Wally Pendergrass

Staff Writer

The Troy women’s basketball team extended its winning streak to five games, knocking off conference leader UALR, while junior guard Ashley Beverly-Kelley earned both conference and national awards.

Beverly-Kelley was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week and was also named National Mid-Major Player of the Week by CollegeSportsMadness.com, on Monday, Feb. 24.

Beverly-Kelley averaged 34.5 points per game during the week, including dropping 46 points on Georgia Southern.

Her 46 points are the most by any player in Division I this season.

The Trojans ended up needing every one of Beverly-Kelley’s points against the Eagles. The Eagles gave Troy their best and pushed the Trojans to overtime, but Troy came away with the victory 99-93.

Sophomore forward Caitlyn Ramirez pushed the game into overtime by making an offensive rebound and scored the tying bucket at the end of regulation.

Senior forward Ronita Garrett took over in overtime, scoring three of the Trojans’ four field goals. Garrett finished the game with her 17th double-double, scoring 25 points and grabbing 17 rebounds.

Besides her 46 points, Beverly-Kelley hit all but one of Troy’s three-point shots, while Ramirez scored nine points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

The win secured a berth in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and also guaranteed the Trojans a winning season, the first since 2008-2009.

However, the Trojans weren’t finished for the week. On Saturday, Feb. 21, Troy wanted to prove that UALR shouldn’t be the only feared Trojans in the Sun Belt this season.

Troy was down by 10 at halftime, 35-25, but rallied in the second half and came away with a win 65-62.

Beverly-Kelley scored 23 points, which is the seventh time in eight games that she has posted over 20 points.

Garrett again had a double-double, her 18th of the year, scoring 17 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Garrett scored 13 of her points in the second half.

The Trojans used four free throws to clinch the game — a pair from Beverly-Kelley and a pair from junior guard Lacey Buchanon, who scored 11 points in the game.

“It was a great win in Trojan Arena today,” said head coach Chanda Rigby. “To beat such a fine team as UALR, it was a great underdog story, you could say.”

The win snapped UALR’s six-game winning streak and is only its second loss in conference play.

“We really didn’t play like underdogs today,” Rigby said. “The maturity of our team was a big difference in this game.”

The Trojans currently sit third in the Sun Belt with three games left on their schedule.

The Trojans have locked up at least the fifth seed in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and can almost lock up the third seed with a win on Thursday, Feb. 26, against Texas State.

The Trojans will travel to San Marcos, Texas, and will try to avenge a 74-72 loss against the Bobcats.

The Trojans will play their final home game on Feb. 28 in Trojan Arena against Georgia State.

The Trojans took down the Panthers 96-87 earlier in the season.

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