Nov. 11, 2017
ARLINGTON, Texas - The Sun Belt favorites started the 2017-18 campaign out on a positive after a strong fourth quarter helped UTA to a 61-48 win over Incarnate Word on Saturday at College Park Center.
The Lady Mavericks (1-0) outscored the Cardinals (0-2) 20-12 in the final frame, helped along by 44.0 percent shooting from the field. Senior Rebekah VanDijk led the UTA effort with a game-high 11 points to go with nine rebounds. VanDijk was also second on the team in dishing three assists. With the win, the Lady Mavs improved to 32-12 all-time in home openers and 21-24 in season openers.
The contests was up for grabs entering the final 10 minutes with UTA being unable to put down free throws to pull away for the first three quarters. UTA entered the fourth shooting just 8-of-19 at the charity stripe, but dropped 8-of-13 in the finale, including all four in the final minute.
UTA will get a short break as a stretch of three games in five days continues on Monday night at College Park Center. Oral Roberts enters after dropping its opener at TCU on Saturday afternoon. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on ESPN3.
First Half: As Incarnate Word continued to battle early, UTA's defense gave up just three field goals in the third quarter, holding the Cardinals without a point for several stretches of the frame. Freshman Kelsey Johnson then gave UTA the lead for the remainder as her rebound and put back as the half-time buzzer sounded sent the team into the locker room up 26-24.
Second Half: The Cardinals kept pecking away at the UTA lead, bringing it to as close as six points with 1:46 to play. However, UTA's Laurynn McGowen knocked down four consecutive free throws to go with Cierra Johnson's two as a 10-3 run closed out the contest.
UTA took a lead in the all-time series with UIW, going ahead 2-1. The matchup was the first since 2013 in coach Krista Gerlich's first home game as the Lady Mav skipper... VanDijk finished a rebound shy of a double-double. Entering the night, the senior led NCAA active career leaders with 37... UTA finished the night shooting 39.6 from the field (21-53), while UIW shot 30.4 percent (14-46)... Aysia Evans knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter as she had two of the team's three from long range.
VanDijk's nine rebounds put the senior at 856 for her career in her bid to become the first player to have 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career... Cierra Johnson recorded one steal to move into 16th in the Sun Belt all-time steal list with 248. She is one shy of 15th. UTA on a 6-0 run, UIW without a point in the last 3:48. Timeout taken by the Cardinals with 5:51 to play. UTA up 47-38 WEnt 5 minutes without a shot
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