LITTLE ROCK -UALR faced a tough offensive juggernaut Thursday night (Nov. 29) in Troy, who led the Sun Belt Conference and was fourth in the nation with 88.8 points per game.
The home team proved up to the task, blocking 11 shots and holding the visitors to 22.6 percent from the field as UALR (5-1, 1-0 SBC) upended Troy (1-4, 0-1) in the Sun Belt opener for both teams.
UALR held Troy to a season-low 52 points and only 14-62 from the field. UALR also forced 11 blocks and held a 60-44 rebounding edge, the most boards in a game under head coach Joe Foley. Offensively, UALR hit 27-71 (38.0 percent) from the field.
Senior Janette Merriex led a balanced UALR scoring attack with 14 points. Junior Taylor Ford barely missed a triple-double with 12 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Junior Hannah Fohne added her first collegiate double-double with 12 points and 11 boards.
Sophomore Ka'Nesheia Cobbins came off the bench for 11 points.
Joanna Harden led Troy with 14 points while Dominique Ross chipped in 11.
UALR held Troy without a field goal for the first 9:30 of the game to open up a 23-7 lead. A pair of jumpers by sophomore Taylor Gault pushed UALR to a quick 4-0 run to start the game, but Troy answered with a quick five points from the charity stripe to take its lone lead of the ballgame with 17:40 remaining. Cobbins went on a 4-0 spurt of her own, followed by a layup by Fohne to open up the 10-5 lead.
Ashley Beverly-Kelley added a pair from the charity stripe for Troy to cut the lead to three, but 13 unanswered by the home team pushed the lead to double-digits for good. Cobbins took an outlet pass from a rebound by Fohne for the fastbreak layup to start the outburst with Merriex capping the run with a triple. UALR led 37-22 at intermission, a season-low for Troy in points.
Thanks to a 0-14 mark to begin the game from the field, UALR held Troy to only 5-31 (16.1 percent) from the field in the half. Despite starting 9-20 from the field, UALR finished the half only 14-40 (35 percent).
The second half was closer with UALR stymieing Troy thanks to more blocks in the stanza (eight) than UALR previously had in any game all season. Troy hit a free throw and a layup to begin the second, but Fohne added a layup and four quick points by Ford pushed the lead to 43-25 with 16:34 remaining. Merriex dialed in her second triple of the game three minutes later to give push UALR's lead to 21. UALR never led by less than 18 the rest of the way in a 23-point victory.
In three wins in four home games, UALR is averaging margin of victory is 27.7.
UALR continues the conference home swing Saturday (Dec. 1) when it hosts ULM. Tip with the Warhawks is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.