Troy women’s basketball downed the Trojans of Arkansas-Little Rock at home this past Wednesday, Feb. 26, 86-77. The win gave Troy its first victory over UALR in program history, due in part to an 80-plus-point performance against the Sun Belt’s best defensive team.
Senior guard Joanna Harden led the team in scoring yet again, reaching 33 points while shooting 23-of-26 from the free-throw line. She was aided by sophomore guard Ashley Beverly-Kelly’s 15 points and bench-player junior guard Aissata Maiga’s 11 points and two steals. Troy’s 86 points were the most scored on UALR in a Sun Belt conference game in over eight years.
Troy’s defense, along with their strong offensive performance, also played a pivotal role in Saturday’s matchup, forcing 18 Arkansas-Little Rock turnovers with a combined 10 steals and four blocked shots.
Troy went to halftime down 38-36. The second-half saw Troy start with an 8-0 run, led by a strong second-half press-defense strategy that head coach Chanda Rigby put into action. The press forced 12 of UALR’s 18 total turnovers, which transitioned to 50 second-half points for Troy while holding Arkansas-Little Rock to 39 points.
“We tried it one time and they looked a little shaky and they started second-guessing themselves,” coach Rigby said. “Then, both of their guards got in foul trouble immediately and we knew it was time to press then.”
The battle for the dominance was fierce with eight lead changes during the game. Troy had six breakaways and their better free throw percentage helped them out in the end. Troy made 33 out of 36 free throws while UALR only had 20 out of 29.
This was Troy’s fifth straight home game win and keeps the Trojans in sixth place in Sun Belt standing with only one game behind Georgia State.
Troy hit the road Saturday, March 1, and saw an eight point second-half lead dwindle away on a late Louisiana-Monroe run, leading to a 91-87 loss.
Harden reached 30 points and led all Trojans in scoring. Junior forward Kourtney Coleman more than doubled her previous season-high with a 27-point performance. Beverly-Kelley also reached double-figures, scoring 16 points with a perfect 4-4 from the charity stripe.
Louisiana-Monroe’s strong offensive, followed by a late second-half Trojan scoring drought, proved too much for the Troy to overcome. ULM had a total of five Warhawks reach double-digit totals, led by senior guard Alexar Tugler’s 14-points.
The Lady Trojans will return home to Trojan Arena on Wednesday, March 5, against UT-Arlington, at 7 p.m. Their final game of the season will be against Texas State on Saturday, March 8. The Saturday game will serve as senior night for Troy with tipoff beginning at 5:15 p.m.