MONROE, La. - The storied career of senior Rebekah VanDijk has seen an exclamation point on Thursday evening against ULM. VanDijk grabbed eight rebounds to surpass Lori Cottington's all-time rebounding mark that stood since 1979.
VanDijk would lead the Lady Mavericks to a 80-53 win, the teams fourth consecutive, as the Nazareth, Texas native ended the day with 21 points. VanDijk heads into the final four games of the regular season with 1,080 rebounds in her career.
"I am so happy and proud for her," UTA coach Krista Gerlich said. "She is so humble and continues to work hard. She just wants best for her team and doesn't even know if the record are available for her some times. It is huge to be able to leave her legacy and write her name in our record books for records that are going to stand for a very long time. Nobody deserves it more than Rebekah. It is really fun that she is the face of the program and what we want Lady Maverick basketball to be all about. To leave her name in the record book is just icing for her."
VanDijk, who points all of her success to the success of her teammates, was honored to be able to reach the milestone on Thursday in a win.
"I think it is an honor to be able to be in the record books at UTA," VanDijk said. "Just as we are going, we are grinding it out and playing our best basketball right now so that is really good for us. It is sometimes now hard to rebound because the other girls are crashing the boards and getting rebounds too. We saw Billie with 10 last game, so it is just really impressive."
The record-breaking day was sparked along by the team's most efficient effort on offense of conference play. The Lady Mavs finished with a 50.0 shooting percentage, connecting on 33-of-66 attempts to achieve the second highest shooting effort of the season, only behind their 50.8 vs. Oral Roberts in the second game of the year. UTA turned the ball over just seven times, four coming in the first quarter.
Crystal Allen, Shelby Richards and Daiane Machado joined VanDijk in the double-figure club. Allen knocked down 14 points, Richards ended with 11 while Machado finished with 10. Richards finished with a career-high six assists.
HOW IT HAPPENED
First Quarter: Despite a flawless effort from VanDijk, UTA found itself in a deficit after the first 10 minutes as turnovers plagued UTA. The Warhawks took advantage with a pair of 3-pointers late in the quarter, including one with 10 seconds in the quarter to hold a lead at the buzzer. VanDijk finished 5-for-5 from the field, getting to 10 points midway through the first.
VanDijk's string was contagious as the team rallied around the senior. As VanDijk improved to 7-for-7 shooting, the Lady Mavs went on a run in which they'd hit eight consecutive shots, including two from long range by Crystal Allen. The run would put UTA up by eight before ULM countered again. Another barrage of 3-pointers pulled ULM within one with the Hawks hitting on three consecutive attempts from deep.
Third Quarter: To go with the record-breaking rebound from VanDijk, UTA was red hot from the field to outscore the Warhawks 16-9 in the period. VanDijk grabbed two rebounds to earn the mark just a minute into the period and Allen knocked down a trey at the buzzer to send UTA to the fourth with an 18-point advantage.
Fourth Quarter: With the game secured, a run to start the quarter saw UTA hold ULM without a point for the first six minutes of the final frame. Kelsey Johnson came in and finished with a career-high nine points, hitting on 3-of-5 shots. The freshman also grabbed six rebounds.
UTA outscored ULM 31-17 in the third quarter as it was 81.3 percent in the period... UTA finished with five 3-pointers on 16 attempts, four coming from Allen.... UTA outscored ULM 46-18 in points in the paint... UTA outscored ULM 27-13 in bench points... UTA turned ULM over 21 times and held a 34-10 advantage in points off turnovers.
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