Women’s basketball team keeps winning streak going strong

Wally Pendergrass

Staff Writer

The women’s basketball team extended its winning streak to six this week, behind strong second-half efforts in all three of its matches.

The Trojans had an amazing week that resulted in junior guard Ashley Beverly-Kelley scoring her 1,000th point and has the team off to its best conference start since the ’96-97 season, when the team made its only NCAA Tournament appearance.

The Trojans rallied in Monroe, Louisiana, overcoming a 33-21 halftime deficit to beat the ULM Warhawks 82-77.

The Trojans came out strong and tied the game within the first three minutes of the second half. The game went back and forth from then on until Troy took the lead for the final time at 74-72 with 1:20 left.

The Trojans sealed the game at the free-throw line, hitting six free throws to put the game out of reach.

“This was a true road game in every sense of the word,” head coach Chanda Rigby said. “We had to fight and overcome so much to pull out this win.”

Junior guard Lacey Buchanon led the team in scoring with 19 points, while senior forward Ronita Garrett also played well, with a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds.

The Trojans lead the Sun Belt Conference in steals, and that played a major role in the game as the Trojans were able to force the Warhawks into 24 turnovers.

The Trojans used their tough defense again when they forced Georgia Southern into 25 turnovers, on the way to an 84-74 win in Trojan Arena on Saturday, Jan. 17.

Once again the Trojans needed a powerful second half and delivered, scoring 50 points in the second half.

“We just kept fighting,” said Buchanon. “Even though they were hitting threes, we just kept fighting.”

The game was close down the stretch, but the Trojans again used late free throws to ice away the victory.

Garrett once again had a double-double, with 16 points and 13 rebounds. She now has 10 double-doubles for the year, which leads the Sun Belt Conference.

“It’s a great win in Trojan Arena,” Rigby said. “It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a great win.”

In the Trojans’ third game of the week, Beverly-Kelley pounded the lane against the Appalachian State Mountaineers, scoring a career-high 34 points in the Trojans’ 91-87 victory on Monday, Jan. 19.

Beverly-Kelley hit three layups in a row for the Trojans late in the game, which pushed the Trojans’ lead from 78-77 to 84-77.

“I just felt for us to win, I had to take over and not be so passive,” Beverly-Kelley said. “I’m just excited we have a streak now, and I feel our chemistry is growing stronger and stronger.”

For the third game in a row, the Trojans grabbed the victory at the free-throw line, this time hitting seven free throws to close the game.

“We’re very excited to be where we are right now,” Rigby said. “They could not stop Ashley Beverly-Kelley off the dribble.”

The Trojans will face the UALR Trojans, who are in first place in the Sun Belt, on Thursday, Jan. 22, at 5:30 p.m. in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Trojans will then host Arkansas State, which is in second place in the Sun Belt, on Saturday, Jan. 24, at 2 p.m. in Trojan Arena.

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