Feb. 1, 2018
ARLINGTON, Texas - Rebekah VanDijk's contested basket at the rim with eight seconds remaining lifted the UTA Lady Mavericks to a thrilling comeback, 49-48, win over Appalachian State on Thursday night at College Park Center.
UTA (12-10, 6-5 Sun Belt Conference) faced a four-point hole, its largest deficit of the game, with 54 seconds remaining. The Lady Mavs had led by as much as seven in the third quarter but saw Appalachian State (6-16, 4-7 SBC) rally from behind to take the four-point lead in the final minute.
The Lady Mavs used three free throws, collected in four trips on back-to-back possessions from Aysia Evans and Laurynn McGowen, to cut the lead to 48-47. The Lady Mavs defense took over in a must-stop possession, forcing Mountaineers into burning their last pair of timeouts inbounding the ball. On the third attempt, UTA forced a jump ball getting possession and setting up the heroics.
UTA inbounded the ball from the corner, with Lauren Billie finding a heavily guarded VanDijk on the block. The senior center secured the ball in traffic and eased the game-winning bucket in off the glass and rim for the difference.
App State raced down the floor, handicapped without any timeouts, but its last-ditch effort rolled off the rim.
The win marked the Lady Mavs return to .500 at College Park Center, with the sparkling facility celebrating its sixth anniversary on Thursday. UTA is 44-44 at CPC and 20-5 over the last two seasons.
LEADING THE MAVS
Shelby Richards starred for the Mavs, owning 12 points and eight rebounds, adding four steals and two assists. Crystal Allen also reached double figures, adding 10 points and six rebounds. McGowen finished with seven points and three assists, with Billie owning nine points and two steals.
The Lady Mavs return to action on Saturday, hosting Coastal Carolina at 2 p.m. CT at College Park Center in a game that will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com.
The contest started off as a defensive struggle with App State striking first with a triple three minutes into the game. UTA then held App State scoreless over the next six minutes as the Lady Mavs used a layup from McGowen and a jumper from Billie to take a 4-3 lead. The Mountaineers broke their scoreless stretch with a second triple of the quarter and Alexander matched the trey as time expired in the quarter for a 7-6 lead.
If defense owned the first stanza, the teams picked up the scoring in the second. App State regained the lead with a triple with LeJune answering to even it at 9-9 with a jumper. The teams traded baskets, with Richards, McGowen, Allen and Van Dijk taking it at 17-17 at the media timeout with 3:15 left in the half. Richards and Allen finished off the scoring for the Mavs with a pair of baskets at the rim as App State took a 24-23 lead into the half.
UTA came out clicking in the third, getting early baskets from Richards, Allen and Billie to regain the lead 29-24 with 5:33 left. Allen's triple stretched the Lady Mavs lead to 33-26 and Richards answered an App State bucket with a jumper. After an App State rally tied the game at 35-35, a pair of free throws lifted the Lady Mavs to a two-point lead at the end of the quarter.
The teams traded defensive stops to open the final quarter, with the Mountaineers regaining the lead with an and-one chance. Billie answered with her first 3-pointer of the night to give UTA a 40-38 lead with eight minutes remaining. Both defenses then posted scoreless runs of at least three minutes, before Billie answered a bucket from App State with a go-ahead jumper with 5:02 left. App State responded with a three from the corner as the shot clock expired to take a 43-42 lead in the closing three minutes. Clutch free throws from App State extended the lead to 45-42 with two minutes left. On the ensuing offensive possession, Richards skied to grab an offensive rebound and forced a foul, hitting both from the charity stripe to cut the App State lead to 45-44 with 1:49 left. A basket at the rim and one of two free throws saw App State take a 48-44 lead with under a minute left. McGowen forced a blocking call on the ensuing possession, hitting one of the attempts from the charity stripe. The UTA defense then recorded a defensive stop, with Aysia Evans fouled after grabbing the rebound. Evans knocked down both attempts to cut the App State lead to 48-47 with 20.5 left in regulation.
Four consecutive timeouts followed as the teams battled in a one-point game with 15.2 seconds left. UTA's defense stiffened, forcing the jump ball and regaining possession with 11.9 left. The Mavs set up their offese after a timeout and Billie found VanDijk on the block for a contested basket for the 49-48 lead. App State in bounded the ball and got a look at the rim as the time expired but the Mavs were able to hold on for the win.
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.