Women’s basketball finishes strong, claims final two home games

Sinclair Portis

Staff Writer

Troy’s women’s basketball team returned home on Thursday, Feb. 25, defeating UL-Lafayette 90-83 and UL-Monroe 74-64 on Saturday, Feb. 27.

The Trojans’ victory in their game against UL-Lafayette was their 16th game over 80 points, as well as their first against the Ragin’ Cajuns (18-9, 11-7 Sun Belt) to score at least 90.

The game was close from the beginning, but it became closer in the last few minutes due to a late comeback by the visitors. After the Ragin’ Cajuns captured a three-point lead, the Trojans came back in the final minutes, hitting six field goals and five free throws and missing none.

Junior guard ArJae’ Saunders led the Trojans with 21 points, including 16 in the first half to give her team the lead. Junior guard Claresa Banks hit a career high of 18 points to be the second-highest scorer of the night.

Junior forward Caitlyn Ramirez added 15 points, and senior guard Ashley Beverly-Kelley recorded her seventh career double-double with 12 points, 10 assists and only one turnover.

Troy shot 44 percent from the field, including 9-of-21 from beyond the arc and 21-of-31 from the free-throw line to top UL-Lafayette.

“This win was important because it was close,” Troy head coach Chanda Rigby said.  “We were down by three points with three minutes to go, but we fought back and were calm enough to make the plays to win. That shows growth as a team.”

On Saturday, Feb. 27, Troy held senior night to honor Ashley Beverly-Kelley before the Trojans’ game against ULM.

The senior earned 27 points on her big night and was acknowledged for all her accomplishments. This was her 40th 20-point game of her career, and she was recognized as both a Mid-Major All-American and the Sun Belt’s leading scorer this season.

The Trojans pressured the Warhawks (10-17, 4-14 Sun Belt) the entire game, outrebounding them 45-36 and forcing 23 turnovers.

Saunders and Banks contributed offensively with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Ramirez and junior forward Kristen Emerson helped their team on the boards as well, with 14 for Ramirez and eight for Emerson.

“We’re thrilled to get this win,” Rigby said. “We didn’t shoot as well as we would like, but I think because we caused so many turnovers and rebounded so well, we were able to come away with the win.”

Despite shooting 31.9 percent overall from the field to the Warhawks’ 48.1 percent, the Trojans put themselves ahead with free throws, making 19-of-23 to the Warhawks 10-for-16.

Troy is tied with South Alabama for fourth place in the Sun Belt standings. Troy will return to the court on Thursday, March 3, when it plays at Texas State. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.

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