LITTLE ROCK - Down by 17 with 6:12 left, the Trojans went on an 11-0 run to pull within six. However, it was not enough as UALR (1-1) fell to Missouri State (1-1) 78-68 Thursday night (Nov. 15) in its home opener at the Jack Stephens Center.
Senior Janette Merriex matched a career high with 18 points on six triples, the most three-pointers by a Trojans player in a game in two years.
Sophomore Taylor Gault contributed 16 points and junior Taylor Ford added 10 points in the first half. Junior Hannah Fohne added 10 boards for UALR.
Kenzie Williams scored 20 points for Missouri State while Whitney Edie reached a double-double with 18 points and 11 boards. Bry Snow tallied 15 while Hannah Wilkerson added 13.
Both teams traded punches in the game's opening minutes until Missouri State went on a 4-0 run to go up 13-9 with 15 minutes left in the first half. Gault hit a pair of jumpers around a pair of free throws by sophomore Ka'Nesheia Cobbins to give UALR back the lead at 15-13 with 13 minutes left.
After the Lady Bears tied it back up, Gault and Cobbins both added baskets as UALR claimed its largest lead of the ballgame at 19-15 with 11:45 left in the first half. Missouri State went up 27-26 on a Whitney layup, but Ford quickly made a pair of layups as UALR battled back to take a 30-27 lead with six minutes left to break.
With the game tied at 39, Fohne split a pair from the line and freshman Morgan Bolton nailed a jumper from classmate Cobbins, but Williams split from the line and hit a layup to send the game into the intermission knotted at 42.
Both teams were in a close battle in the second half before Missouri State put together an 18-4 run to go up by 17. Up 56-53, the Lady Bears' Whitney recorded a pair of layups around a Wilkerson layup to go 62-53. A pair of free throws by Williams and Whitney gave Missouri State the double-digit edge, 66-53 with 11 minutes left. Fohne stopped the run with a layup, but an old-fashioned three-pointer by Snow, a layup by Williams and three more by Missouri State at the charity stripe opened up a 74-57 lead for the visitors.
UALR would not go quietly into the night when Merriex nailed a pair of triples on two-straight offensive possessions to bring the Trojans within 11. Gault added a jumper and another Trey by Merriex brought UALR within six with 4:24 remaining, an 11-0 spurt in less than two minutes.
UALR forced three turnovers in the final four minutes, but the Trojans were held scoreless as a pair of free throws and a jumper by Missouri State's Wilkerson produced the final 10-point margin.
UALR returns to action when it travels to Dallas on Monday (Nov. 19) to take on SMU. Opening tip is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.