Jan. 4, 2018
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A blistering start and the 40th career double-double from Rebekah VanDijk helped pace the Lady Mavs to a 76-57 win over the defending league champion Troy Trojans on Thursday evening at College Park Center.
UTA (8-6, 2-1 Sun Belt) scored the first nine points of the game and used the hot start to cruise past Troy (7-7, 2-1 Sun Belt). The Mavs built a 20-point lead in the first half and saw their lead balloon to as high as 29 in the win over the Trojans, the defending Sun Belt Conference Champions, who claimed two of the three meetings in the series during UTA's historic 2016-17 season.
The win marked the third for the Lady Mavs in their last four games, including a New Years Eve win at Appalachian State. UTA finished the win holding advantages in rebounds (49-46), points in the paint (36-28), assists (20-9) and second-chance points (25-8). UTA finished the game shooting 41 percent from the field and held the Trojans to 29 percent, including 3-for-21 from behind the arc.
LEADING THE MAVS
A native of Nazareth, Texas, VanDijk charted a season high with 25 points, adding 14 rebounds. VanDijk, the preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, added five blocks to move into sole possession of second place in UTA career history. VanDijk was efficient from the field, connecting on 10-of-14 attempts and going 5-for-6 at the free-throw stripe.
Shelby Richards finished with 14 points on a 6-of-8 game, with four rebounds, two assists and two steals. UTA also got nine points - on a trio of triples - from Brooke Alexander, who added six rebounds and a block. Laurynn McGowen totaled seven points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals, with Lauren Billie and Aysia Evans each charting five-point games. Kelsey Johnson and Daiane Machado each finished with four points.
The Lady Mavs will hit the court next in a home doubleheader with the men's program, hosting South Alabama on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT at College Park Center. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com.
The Mavs opened the scoring with an offensive rebound from Evans on the first possession, with VanDijk sinking a jumper. UTA rolled to a 9-0 start, getting a triple from Evans, a second jumper from VanDijk and a pair of free throws from McGowen. A pair of triples and a layup spurred the Trojans to within a point but UTA answered with a bucket at the rim from Machado and a free throw from Richards for a 14-8 lead. After trading defensive stops, UTA finished the half with a basket from VanDijk to take a 16-10 lead into the break.
Richards sparked the Mavs out of the quarter break, sinking a jumper and getting a basket in the paint to take UTA's lead to 20-10. Baskets from Billie and Richards and three buckets from VanDijk helped the Mavs take a 31-14 lead with six minutes remaining in the half. An Alexander triple and a pair of baskets from Johnson stretched the UTA lead to 38-18. The Trojans responded with five straight points from the charity stripe, forcing a UTA timeout with a 40-23 lead and just under a minute remaining. Richards took the ball to the basket to stretch UTA's lead to 40-25 at halftime. VanDijk led the Mavs with 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting in just five first-half minutes, grabbing five rebounds. UTA outshot Troy in the first half, holding the Trojans to 26 percent from the field while sporting a 44 percent clip offensively. UTA collected 24 of its points in the paint in the half, adding 19 second-chance points and owning a 26-25 lead in rebounding.
Crystal Allen wasted little time getting on the board, sinking a triple seven seconds into the third quarter. After Troy answered with a bucket, UTA stretched the lead to 47-27 with a basket from VanDijk and a pair of free throws from Evans. McGowen executed a steal on the defensive end and turned it into a breakaway layup and a triple from Alexander pushed the Lady Mavs to a 52-29 lead with just under five minutes left in the period. Alexander's third connection from behind the arc lifted UTA to its biggest lead in the game, 55-30 with 4:19 left in the third period. The Mavs ballooned their lead to 29 with a 59-30 advantage following a jumper from VanDijk, with UTA taking a 59-34 lead into the break.
A pair of connections from the charity stripe from VanDijk and a layup from Richards saw UTA take a 63-38 lead early in the quarter. Billie's triple out of the media timeout stretch UTA's lead to 70-45 and after Troy snapped a scoreless stretch, VanDijk's basket pushed the Mavs to a 72-47 lead with 4:32 left. McGowen sank a triple to give the Mavs a 76-50 lead with just over three minutes left in regulation.
PURCHASE UTA HOME GAME TICKETS
Single-game tickets to attend UTA men and women's basketball events are on sale through the UTA Box Office in person or by calling (817) 272-8585 and online through UTATickets.com. Season tickets are available for as low as $99 for all 30 men and women's games, which comes out to $3.30 per game. Single game tickets are priced at $8, $12 and $25 per game, depending on seat location. UTA students and faculty staff tickets are available for just $5 for a single game or at a reduced rate for season tickets. Discount Maverick Club (season) and general public (single game) parking is also available. Visit UTATickets.com for detailed information.
FOLLOW THE MAVS SOCIALLY
For up-to-date news, photos, videos and updates you can follow UTA sports program online at UTAMavs.com or via any of several social media accounts on twitter @UTAMavs, Instagram @UTAMavs, Snapchat @UTAMavs and Facebook at UTArlingtonAthletics. Follow the UTA basketball programs on Twitter at @UTA_MBB and @LadyMavHoops.
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