BOONE, N.C. - It was a battle at the Holmes Convocation Center on New Years Eve, but UT Arlington escaped Appalachian State with a 64-60 win to close out 2017 on Sunday.
A 12-2 App State run to open the fourth overturned UTA's seven-point lead heading into the final 10 minutes, but a strong finish by the Lady Mavericks held off the charging Mountaineers. UTA went to 7-6 overall for the season, improving to 1-1 in league play, while App State went to 2-11 and 0-2 to start conference action.
Daiane Machado followed up her career-high 16-point effort from Friday with a team-high 14 points on Sunday, including scoring eight in the third as part of UTA's push into the lead. Rebekah VanDijk tied her career-high with six blocks, moving within just one of second in UTA history with 165 in her career. A part of a milestone day, VanDijk moved into 13th in Sun Belt history with 959-career rebounds, as well as into 15th in the league for blocks. VanDijk is just one shy of tying for second in UTA block history.
Aysia Evans, getting her first start since November, responded with a season-high 11 points, going perfect from 3-point range in knocking down two, hitting on 5-of-6 free-throw attempts.
The Lady Mavericks remain perfect against App State in the team's seven meeting, as well as improving to 4-0 in Boone. The teams will meet again on Feb. 1. The win returned UTA to form on the East Coast, helping UTA end a three-game losing streak in the time zone to go 13-3 under coach Krista Gerlich. The Lady Mavs return back to Collge Park Center for its league home opener when they welcome the league's defending champion Troy on Thursday at 5 p.m. on ESPN3.
HOW IT HAPPENED
First Quarter: A slow start saw the Lady Mavs in an early deficit, but Daiane Machado would help UTA claw back to spark a 6-0 run, scoring four of the points. The Lady Mavs had a chance to take their first lead of the game with under a minute in the quarter, but a turnover would give App State back its three-point edge. Shelby Richards trimmed it down to one with a 15-foot jumper at the buzzer.
Second Quarter: A scoring drought of more than three minutes by App State helped UTA take its first lead with Laurynn McGowen flying through the lane for an easy lane in. Brooke Alexander knocked down a corner trey to give UTA a five-point edge. Shooting would go cold for both teams with a pair of App State free throws all to show for a three minute stretch.
Despite just one field goal in the second quarter, a run of free-throws helped App State to a two-point edge at the break, despite shooting 22.2 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes.
Third Quarter: Neither team clicked offensively through the first five minutes of the second half. After Aysa Evans connected on a 3-pointer to open the half, UTA would go five minutes without another shot falling, allowing App State to regain the lead in the game's 10th lead change.
Machado would be the spark to light a fire for UTA late in the quarter. Machado paced the offense in the third stanza with eight points, knocking down three consecutive buckets late. Shelby Richards gave UTA its largest lead of the game at seven points on a jumper at the buzzer.
Fourth Quarter: App State quickly flipped the game's script to start the final quarter, outscoring the Lady Mavs 12-2 in the first four minutes, including a go-ahead 3-pointer to send UTA to call an early timeout. The teams would exchange blows, neither being able to pull more than a two point advantage to the 3-minute mark.
A 6-0 run by UTA, including a 3-pointer by Aysia Evans, sent UTA to a four-point lead with 30 seconds left. Evans would knock down two of her free throws in the final seconds, leaving App State behind despite a late 3-pointer to trim it to four points.
KEY STATS: UTA hit at a 40.7 percent clip, improving to 4-1 when hitting above 40 percent. App State was just 29.8 from the field… UTA improved to 6-0 when holding a lead entering the final 10 minutes… Crystal Allen scored 10 to help UTA have four in double figures.
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