ARLINGTON, Texas -- Behind a strong performance from Rebakah VanDijk, the UTA Lady Mavs posted a 67-54 win over Fresno State to win their fifth consecutive game to open the season on Friday afternoon at College Park Center.
For the first time in program history, the Lady Lady Mavs have opened consecutive seasons with 5-0 starts, with the 1977-78 team owning the school mark with seven straight wins to open the year. UTA has wins over Incarnate Word, Oral Roberts, UTSA and SMU to kick off the season as it heads on the road for four of the next five against Power 5 teams.
UTA (5-0) used a 10-0 run in the first quarter to build an insurmountable lead over Fresno State (1-3) and held off a second-half rally from the Bulldogs to earn its fifth consecutive win.
LEADING THE LADY MAVS
A native of Nazareth, Texas, VanDijk led the way for the UTA offense, collecting 19 points and six rebounds, while adding a pair of blocked shots. UTA also got 15 points and six rebounds from Crystal Allen – a game after her game-winning 3-pointer vs. SMU. Shelby Richards added nine points, with Lauren McGowen sporting six points, a team-best eight assists and seven rebounds. Jennifer Parker grabbed a team-leading nine rebounds.
UTA returns to action on Monday, traveling to face Utah at 7 p.m. CT.
After jumpers from VanDijk and Allen opened the scoring in the game for the Lady Lady Mavs, Fresno answered with a 7-0 run to take its first lead. Parker's jumper and a free throw from McGowen evened the game up before the Bulldogs took a 10-8 lead into the media timeout. The Lady Mavs answered with a 10-0 run to take an 18-10 lead. After Fresno stopped the run, Allen answered with a triple from the wing and sank a free throw to lift the Lady Mavs to a 22-12 lead after the first stanza.
A free throw from VanDijk and a jumper from Parker stretched UTA's lead to 25-12. After a triple from Fresno State, Coach Krista Gerlich used a timeout with the Lady Mavs leading 27-19 with 6:37 left in the first half. Lauren Billie answered a Fresno State run with her first three of the night, giving the Lady Mavs a 33-24 lead with just under four minutes remaining. VanDijk's post move and basket extended UTA's lead back to double digits and after McGowen collected a defensive rebound and sank a free throw, the Lady Mavs owned a 36-24 advantage with two minutes left. UTA's defensive effort shined as the Lady Mavs forced seven straight misses from Fresno to end the half, taking a 41-25 lead.
The Lady Mavs stretched their lead to open the third behind a bucket from VanDijk. Fresno fought back to cut the lead to 47-34 at the media timeout and Richards beat the shot clock with a nifty drive to the basket to give the Lady Mavs a 50-36 lead. Fresno State's Maddi Utti nailed a buzzer beating triple to end the quarter with the Lady Mavs leading 50-39.
The teams traded buckets to open the fourth before the Lady Mavs ripped off a 6-0 run, holding Fresno scoreless for a three-minute period, to take a 58-45 lead with just under five minutes remaining in regulation. The Lady Mavs held off the late-game charge from the Bulldogs to earn the win.
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