JONESBORO, Ark. – UT Arlington’s second-half charge fell short at the Convocation Center as Arkansas State held on for a 67-62 victory Thursday night to snap the Lady Mavericks’ three-game winning streak.
The Lady Mavericks (15-11) dropped to 9-8 in the Sun Belt Conference. UTA trailed by as many as 14 points before opening the second with a 17-6 run and eventually taking a 55-54 lead late. UTA had its opportunities in the final minute, turning the ball over and missing a shot that would have tied the game. The Lady Mavs turned the ball over 23 times.
“We just can’t spot people 14 points,” UT Arlington coach Krista Gerlich said. “We had no fight in us whatsoever in the first half. I am proud of our fight in the second half, but I am a little tired of that. I am ready for the girls to believe that they can win from the tip and attack teams like that like they do other teams in the conference.”
Freshman Cierra Johnson led the Lady Mavs with 17 points, tying her career high. Fellow freshman Rebekah Van Dijk finished with 16 points, falling a rebound short of her 14th double-double of the season with nine boards.
“I am proud of our two freshman,” Gerlich said. “Those kids are leading the pack and we have to have a little bit more help with that same type of fearless mentality. (Johnson’s) stat line is wonderful except for the seven turnovers. She is a freshman and that is going to happen, but the fact that she pulled herself out of it and put us on her back that is what we need. That is what we are building on. She has
to help teach us how to have that mentality.”
UTA returns to action on Saturday night when it hosts league-leader UALR on Senior Night. Tip off is scheduled for 5 p.m. and the game can be seen on ESPN3.
Despite shooting 52.6 percent from the field in the first half, UTA found itself down double digits due to 17 turnovers. The Red Wolves took advantage early and built up a 10-point lead just 10 minutes into the game.
ASU’s Khadi Brown-Haywood would score 10 during the run, while UTA already accrued 13 turnovers by the third media timeout. Brown-Haywood finished with 17 points.
Amara Wainwright sparked a run that brought the deficit to just nine points with four minutes to go in the first. The junior hit UTA’s second 3-pointer of the half and followed it up with a bucket in the paint on the next possession. However, Arkansas State turned UTA three straight times to extend its advantage to 39-25 at the break.
The Lady Mavericks started strong in the second half. UTA pulled within six points after going on an 8-0 run before Arkansas State got a layup after five minutes of play. LaShanda Green brought the game within a point with a 3-pointer.
The Red Wolves were able to take a quick bit of momentum back by scoring five consecutive points, but it was Green again who hit from beyond the arc.
Johnson matched her career high as UTA converted on back-to-back 3-poiners, the second coming from Green to give UTA its first lead since early in the game.
Arkansas State answered right back as the teams exchanged runs. The Red Wolves went on a 5-0 run, including a 3-pointer from Aundrea Gamble and kept the lead for the remainder.