Buzzer Unkind To UTA Women

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ARLINGTON, Texas – UT Arlington women’s basketball dropped a 73-72 heartbreaker in overtime to South Alabama Saturday evening in College Park Center.

The Mavericks were a millisecond from picking up their first Sun Belt Conference win on senior guard Malaika Green’s short jumper at the OT buzzer. The shot was initially called good on the floor, only to have it reviewed by officials and overturned.

“I’ve never been more proud if this team for being down and fighting back and getting back in the game,” UT Arlington coach Krista Gerlich said. “My heart is breaking that they didn’t get the win because the deserve it.”

UT Arlington is 1-17 on the season and 0-7 in league play. South Alabama improved to 6-11 and 4-3.

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“My teammates were doing a great job getting me the ball inside to me,” Nwanguma said. “South Alabama was playing behind me so that worked well for me offensively.”

Senior center Desherra Nwanguma led the Mavericks with 19 points and a

season-high 17 rebounds for her third double-double of the season. Fellow senior Briana Walker scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds before fouling out. Junior guard Tahlia Pope flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 10 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

The Mavericks took a 10-7 lead, but South Alabama’s Meghan Dunn hit back-to-back 3-pointers to take the 13-10 lead before the first media timeout. The Jaguars shot 60 percent from the 3-point line (9-15) in the first half. South Alabama finished the half leading 37-26.

Green started the second half with a 3-point play to close the gap to 37-29. Laila Suleiman knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to come within two and Desherra Nwanguma tied the game with a layup at 44-44. UT Arlington hung on to lead until South Alabama hit a 3-pointer with three minutes to play to take a 61-60 lead.

UT Arlington inbounded the ball down two, 66-64, with 14.5 second to play in the game. Pope was fouled on the play and made both free throws to tie the game with 2.3 seconds to play in regulation.

The Mavericks are back in action Wednesday as the travel to Bowling Green, Ky. to take on Western Kentucky at 7 p.m. before heading to Atlanta to face Georgia State Saturday at 11 a.m.