LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (LR Trojans) – In its toughest Sun Belt matchup to date, Little Rock women's basketball pulled out a narrow 59-57 victory over UT Arlington on Thursday night at the Jack Stephens Center.
Little Rock (8-8, 5-0 Sun Belt) kept its unblemished conference record intact as it moved to 40-1 against Sun Belt opponents at the Jack since 2013-14. The victory was the Trojans' 21st consecutive against league opponents at the Jack and 10th consecutive against Sun Belt opponents on the road or at home dating back to last season.
Ronjanae DeGray led the Trojans with 14 points while bringing down five rebounds. Monique Townson and Tori Lasker each scored 10 points. Townson had five rebounds and two assists, and Lasker had three assists and two rebounds. Raeyana DeGray was the Trojans' leading rebounder as she came down with seven boards in addition to nine points and three assists. Little Rock shot 44.2 percent (23-for-52) from the field, 45.5 percent (5-for-11) from three and 66.7 percent (8-for-12) from the foul line.
Rebekah VanDijk led the Mavericks (8-8, 2-3 Sun Belt) with 17 points and 10 rebounds while committing a game-high six turnovers. Shelby Richards was the other UTA player in double figures with 15 points, three rebounds and a team-high two assists. The Mavs shot 39.5 percent (17-for-43) from the field, 66.7 percent (4-for-6) from three and 67.9 percent (19-for-28) from the charity stripe.
UTA made its run in the fourth quarter by outscoring Little Rock 14-9. After Townson made a layup to give the Trojans a nine-point lead at the beginning of the quarter, Little Rock's lead vanished as the Mavs went on a 10-0 run to take a 53-552 lead. A three by Lasker put the Trojans back in the lead momentarily until Laurynn McGowen knotted the game at 55 with a layup. Back-to-back jumpers by Raeyana DeGray put Little Rock up by four with 1:52 left on the clock. With 56 seconds remaining, VanDijk pulled the Mavs within two with a layup. From there, the Trojans drained the clock to 10 seconds until Ronjanae DeGray was fouled. In the bonus, DeGray missed both foul shots, but the Trojans' defense stepped up as Daiane Machado missed a layup with four seconds remaining. DeGray pulled down the clutch rebound as time expired to give Little Rock its fifth consecutive win.
Little Rock took its largest lead of the game in the third quarter at 10 points thanks to an 8-0 run that was capped off by a layup and free throw by Ronjanae DeGray. The Trojans ended the quarter with a seven-point lead at 50-43 after shooting 53.8 percent (7-for-13) and outscoring the Mavs 20-14. The Mavericks struggled from the field as they went 2-for-8, but they made up for it by going 10-for-12 (83.3%) from the foul line.
The Trojans went to the half with a narrow one-point lead after Ronjanae DeGray put up a layup at the buzzer to give Little Rock a 30-29 advantage. The Trojans shot 50 percent (7-for-14) in the quarter while the Mavs shot 40 percent (4-for-10). Ronjanae DeGray led the Trojans five points in the quarter. Down 28-21, Little Rock finished the period on a 9-1 run.
The game began with a 17-15 lead for UT Arlington as both teams shot 41.7 percent (5-for-12) in the first quarter. Seven different Trojans scored in the first period with Raeyana DeGray and Tori Lasker each scoring three. The Mavericks' VanDijk led the quarter with five points.
Anna Hurlburt had a game-high two blocks in addition to six rebounds and three points. Keanna Keys ended the night with six points and three rebounds while Kira Shepard had three points, one assist and one rebound. Terrion Moore and Yanina Inkina ended the game with two points each while Moore led the game with four assists.
Little Rock will look to extend its winning streak to six games on Saturday as it hosts Texas State at 3 p.m.