ARLINGTON, Texas – The streaking Lady Mavericks vaulted into fifth in the Sun Belt Conference with Saturday’s 56-42 victory over Louisiana at College Park Center.
UT Arlington (15-10, 9-7) has won six of its last seven games to make a move up the conference standings. The latest win allowed the Lady Mavs to leapfrog the Ragin’ Cajuns (17-9, 9-8) with four games left in the regular season.
“It was a big win for us,” UT Arlington coach Krista Gerlich said. “We did a good job of not losing our poise. Overall, we really exploited where we could get easy buckets. Our girls did a nice job of getting the ball inside and getting easy shots.”
UTA’s Rebekah Van Dijk helped set the tone early with establishing a physical presence in the paint. The freshman center tallied her 13th double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes.
The Lady Mavericks enjoyed a 12-point edge inside (32-20) and out-rebounded Louisiana 42-25. UTA swept the two-game season with the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Senior guard Chaun Williams added 11 points and seven boards. Junior forward Toma Zaleckaite also came up big in the paint with eight points. Freshman guard Cierra Johnson dished out six assists.
The Lady Mavericks opened the game pounding the ball inside and
hounded the Ragin’ Cajuns defensively in taking a 13-4 lead. Van Dijk had eight points in the surge, all on layups.
“Cierra was seeing me when I was open,” Van Dijk said. “Everyone did a great job.”
Louisiana crawled back into it and edged ahead 18-17 late in the first half. UT Arlington answered with an 8-0 run, with five points coming from Williams, to carry a 25-18 advantage into halftime.
Louisiana would shoot only 27 percent in the first half and committed 13 turnovers, including two shot-clock violations. UT Arlington was able to overcome 14 turnovers by controlling the paint.
The Lady Mavs continued to put the pressure on in the second half and opened a double-digit lead. UTA outscored Louisiana 31-24 after the break.
“I’m excited about how we’re playing,” Gerlich said. “We’re playing well at the right time.”