The Trojans’ women’s basketball team broke its six-game losing streak with two wins at home against Georgia teams, but dropped a close road game against South Alabama.
The Trojans (12-12, 7-8 Sun Belt) started out slow against Georgia Southern, but after a 9-0 run and a buzzer-beater by junior guard ArJae’ Saunders at the end of the first quarter, the Trojans lead the rest of the game. The Eagles (7-15, 4-9 Sun Belt) cut the deficit to just seven points twice, but the Trojans were victorious, 84-68.
Senior guard Ashley Beverly-Kelley scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, including Troy’s final 11 points. Overall, the senior scored 24 points, five assists and eight rebounds.
Beverly-Kelley was second in the leading scorers, led only by Saunders’ career high of 26 points, four assists and eight rebounds.
The Trojans ended the game with a 41.9 shooting percentage, compared to the Eagles 41.7 percent, and shot a season-high of 12 three-pointers. This gave the Trojans a 35.3 shooting percentage to Georgia Southern’s 15 percent.
“I thought that ArJae’ Saunders held the rope for us in the first half, not only with her shooting, but with her seven rebounds in the first half,” head coach Chanda Rigby said after the game. “That just showed how bad she wanted to come out and win tonight. In the second half she kept contributing, but Ashley Beverly Kelley really came through and kept the game out of reach. Ashley had some crucial rebounds down the stretch and they both hit big shots.”
The Trojans took the momentum of their conference win into their contest against Georgia State, wearing pink for their annual “Play 4Kay” game.
Both teams fought hard early on, as the first quarter ended 26-21 in favor of Troy. The second quarter was just as intense, but Troy came out with a stronger defense, holding Georgia State to just six points.
From that point on, victory was assured for Troy.
Beverly-Kelley led all scorers with 29 points, followed by Saunders with 23. Once again the Trojans dominated from long range, hitting 11 of 31 shots from beyond the arc compared to just two three-pointers from the Panthers.
Troy’s rise was halted when they traveled to Mobile for a rematch against South Alabama (12-12, 8-7 Sun Belt) on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2016.
Troy out rebounded the Jags 70 percent, compared to 50 from South Alabama, and shot 31 percent. At the half, the Trojans were trailing by six, but they gained the lead in the third on a 10-0 run.
The Jaguars tied the game at 63 and were given the possession after a mistake from Troy, but junior guard Claresa Banks hit two free throws, giving the Trojans the lead with 1:45 to go.
The Jags finished the game on an 8-0 run, winning 63-57.
Saunders led the Trojans with 17 points, followed by Beverly Kelley who had only nine.
The Trojans will return to the court this Saturday to play at Appalachian State.