ARLINGTON, Texas - UT Arlington made a valiant comeback, however, it was not enough as UTA fell to No. 25 Seton Hall 61-54 on Tuesday at College Park Center.
The Lady Mavericks (1-3) outscored the Pirates (5-0) 16-7 in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to as close as four points with two minutes to play. UTA shot just 30.2 percent in the contest, while Seton Hall was 47.9 from the field. However, an 18-8 advantage for the Lady Mavs from the charity stripe kept UTA alive.
Trailing by double-digits entering the fourth, LaShanda Green gave UTA's defense as spark. The senior drew four of her six charges in the final quarter, helping ignite the run. Junior Kamy Cole knocked down a key 3-pointer to trim the game to just four points.
The Lady Mavs had their changes to cut the lead do just a field goal, but were unable to convert on three separate chances down the floor.
It is the first time UTA has dropped back-to-back games since a midseason skid in January of last season when the Lady Mavs lost three consecutive.
Leading by just two points with three minutes left in the first half, Seton Hall bursts out to a big lead on what became a 20-5 run going into the third quarter. The Pirates knocked down two of their seven 3-pointers during the stretch.
The Lady Mavs had two reach double figures in the contest. Amara Wainwright had a team-high 13 points on 4-7 shooting. She was perfect in her one 3-point attempt and was 4-4 from the free-throw line. Kamy Cole was 3-6 from the field for 10 points. She hit two of her four 3-point attempts. Shakena Richardson led Seton Hall. Richardson had a game-high 14 points, scoring all from inside the 3-point stripe.
UTA faced a Big East opponent for just the fifth time and first since 2009. The Lady Mavericks are winless in each attempt.
UT Arlington wraps up a four-game homestand on Saturday against Missouri Valley College at 5 p.m. UTA faces MVC in the season opener last season, winning 90-32 in the team's only meeting all-time.
UTA associate head coach Kristin Cole's opening statement:
"I couldn't be prouder of our kids. They fought for 40 minutes and played incredibly hard. They believed in each other. I loved their fight and that is what we have to have every single night. It was a team effort. We need to do a better job taking care of the ball, but if we do that the game could have been ours.
"One of the things is that this is the first year we have returners. They returners understand what it is we are doing. They understand the philosophy, game play and how hard to work. For the first time the locker room truly believed they could win this game."
Cole on the message she gave at halftime:
"We talked about valuing the position of the basketball. That is what we preach everyday. We just need to get refocused on that. if we would have had half of those turnovers, it would have been a different half. We just pointed it out to them and it is about being confident with what you are doing."
Cole on the confidence UTA had in the fourth quarter:
"Our kids are starting to understand where they can score and how they can score. it takes a little while to gel. We have some new kids and it takes a little while to learn where they want to score. We are starting to understand what we are trying to get out of the offense. "
Cole on what she has learned from the team and expects before Sun Belt play:
"One of the things I've talked to them about is that I believe they are destined to be great. You have to be battle tested to be great in nonconference. In each game we have gotten better. We are starting to put 40 minutes together. They are starting to believe in themselves in that they are meant to be great, not only as a team, but as players. Each game that we are battle tested will put us in a better position in the Sun Belt."
Amara Wainwright on the comeback attempt:
"We wanted to band together and never stop fighting. Cierra sparked a lot of energy on getting stops and hitting tough shots, and that kept us in it. The theme of the night was to just keep fighting and give it everything we had.
"It shows that on any given night we can beat anybody. We are learning to not be intimidated by what they are ranked, any night we can bring it and battle to beat every team."