LITTLE ROCK - The Trojans scored 16 of the game's first 19 points and never led by less than 12 the rest of the way as UALR (6-1, 2-0 Sun Belt) claimed a 71-54 victory over ULM (1-6, 0-2 SBC) Saturday night (Dec. 1) at the Jack Stephens Center.
UALR is on a five-game winning streak and are off to the second-pest start in program history (7-1, 2008-09).
The Trojans shot 50 percent from the field (28-56) and held ULM to 30.8 percent (16-52). UALR scored 16 points off of 17 ULM turnovers while UALR only allowed two on eight miscues. ULM out-rebounded UALR 42-34.
Senior Janette Merriex hit 6-10 from the field, including 3-10 from behind the arc, for 16 points to co-lead with sophomore Taylor Gault. Sophomore Kiera Clark added nine points and nine boards.
Alexar Tugler led ULM with 12 points while Alayshia Hunter came off the bench for 10. Ashleigh Simmons led all rebounders in the game with 11.
UALR wasted no time in getting in a double-digit advantage that it held for the rest of the game. After both teams traded buckets to begin the contest, UALR went on a 14-1 run. Junior Hannah Fohne kicked off the spurt with a mid-range jumper on the right wing followed by a Merriex triple. It was the fifth game this season where Merriex scored the Trojans seventh point of a game on a shot from downtown.
On the defensive end, Gault flew out to block the three-point attempt by ULM and grabbed the rebound. Merriex missed a triple but Fohne grabbed the offensive board and Clark claimed the second-chance points to put UALR up seven. Fohne flashed a mid-range jumper on the right wing followed by a Gault three and a fastbreak layup by freshman Ka'Nesheia Cobbins that opened up a 16-3 lead with 13:10 left.
Merriex stepped inside the arc and pump-faked a defender to open up a 30-10 UALR advantage, but ULM's Jae Shin knocked in a pair of triples in consecutive possessions to cut the lead to 14. ULM pulled within 12 with over a minute left in the half, but Gault answered with a three and a jumper by Cobbins as the shot clock was winding down gave UALR the 17-point advantage at the break.
UALR went 19-31 (61.3 percent) from the field in the first half, including 4-7 from beyond the arc, for its best shooting period of the season. ULM only hit 4-19 early, but finished the half 6-10 from the field to finish 9-29 (31.0 percent) for the first.
The second half saw UALR cool off from the field (9-25, 36 percent) as both teams scored 27 in the stanza. ULM cut the lead to 57-42 with 9:17 remaining, but junior Taylor Ford quickly built it back up to 18 when she hit three-of-four from the charity stripe. A layup by the Warhawks' Shantrell Pierson cut it to 60-44 with seven minutes left, but freshman Shanity James got the putback off a missed shot and Merriex dialed it up for long range to push the lead back to 21. Ford split from the line for the largest lead of the ballgame (66-44) with 5:35 left. ULM ended the game on a 10-5 run for the final 17-point margin.
UALR steps back out of conference play when it hosts Southern Miss Tuesday (Dec. 4). Tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.