ARLINGTON, Texas — A career-high 22 points from senior Tahlia Pope helped improve the Lady Mavericks to 2-0 after defeating Houston Baptist 83-73 at College Park Center on Sunday.
UTA, winning its first two for the first time since the 2006-07 season, had four in double figures in the contest. Rebekah Van Dijk recorded her first-career double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, besting her opening-night total of 17 points. LaShanda Green added 17 points and 8 assists, while Chaun Williams scored 14 points and picked up 3 steals.
“We knew this game would be a lot tougher than Friday night’s,” UT Arlington coach Krista Gerlich said. “They had a lot of returners and almost returned every starter. I was a little bit concerned that the experience would pose some problems for us but I thought our kids did a really good job of not getting rattled.”
The Lady Mavericks hit the road for the first time in this young season when they return to action on Saturday at Wichita State at 2:05 p.m.
UTA controlled the pace of play early in the game. Pope and Van Dijk picked up where they left off from Friday night’s win and scored the first 8 points. The Lady Mavs went up 13-6 with a three from Green and would head into the break with a 6-point advantage, up 37-31.
Houston Baptist (0-2) heated up behind the arc in the second half and
closed the gap to as close as 8 points with under 10 minutes to play.
However, following two Artavia Ford free-throws, the Lady Mavericks used their energy to steal momentum back. Pope forced a HBU turnover, hit Williams in stride and UTA went on a 9-0 run to regain control.
The Huskies tried to keep it close and continued to knock down 3-pointers in the second half. Houston Baptist would hit all seven of its 3-pointers in the second, shooting 50 percent from 3-point land overall.
Van Dijk’s inside play kept the Lady Mavs advantage, scoring 10 points and adding five boards in the second to go along with Popes 13 points.
UTA improved to 5-1 all-time against Houston Baptist with the win, avenging a setback from the 2013-14 opener in which HBU claimed 72-60. The 83 points UTA scored were also the most for either team in the series.