The Opening Tip
Something has to give Saturday afternoon (Dec. 22) when UALR (9-1, 2-0 Sun Belt) meets South Alabama (7-4, 0-2 SBC) at noon. The Trojans are 3-0 in road games while the Jaguars are 4-0 in home games this season.
Unable to travel to Mobile, Ala.? There are three ways you can follow all the action from the Mitchell Center. You can either listen to Phil Elson with the call here, follow live stats on the South Alabama web site here or watch the game through USA (subscription) by clicking here.
- UALR (9-1, 2-0 SBC) travels to Mobile, Ala. for its first road conference game. South Alabama (7-4, 0-2) dropped its first two conference games, both of which were on the road.
- With Joe Foley at the helm, the Trojans have split their 12 games with South Alabama. After a 2-6 start for Foley against the Jaguars, UALR has won the last four.
- UALR has ended South Alabama's season in 2011 and 2012 in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
- In two games against USA, sophomore Taylor Gault is averaging 21 points and 4.5 rebounds.
- Both UALR and South Alabama have beaten Southern Miss in home games this season. UALR won 64-45 while USA claimed a 69-67 victory.
Scouting South Alabama
South Alabama will enter the game 7-4 overall but 0-2 in Sun Belt play. The Jaguars won their first four games of the season but have dropped four of their last five. Included in that streak is a pair of defeats in South Florida to begin conference play. All four losses have been on the road while USA is 4-0 at home.
In its last game, South Alabama led by as much as 18 before Central Florida tied the game at half. UCF made a free throw with six seconds left and held on for the 55-54 win Wed. night (Dec. 19) in Orlando, Fla. Meghan Dunn led the Jaguars with 13 points while Camille Reynolds added 12.
While South Alabama allows 39.1 percent shooting from the field, it may be a tough day from beyond the arc for both teams. USA is 10th in country in three-point field goal defense (22.0 percent) while UALR is 12th (21.6 percent). It could also be a tough scoring day as UALR and South Alabama are 1-2 in the Sun Belt in points allowed (52.6 and 55.0, respectively).
Individually, Mary Nixon leads the team with 14.0 points per game. Mansa El adds 9.3 points per game while Ronneka Robertson grabs 7.2 boards per game.
Flashback to Last Year
UALR ended South Alabama's season in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament with a 60-54 win on March 4, 2012.
With 7:57 left in the game, UALR led by 13 before USA went on a 11-2 run over the next four minutes to pull within four. The Trojans held on for the six-point win.
Taylor Gault scored a then career-high 29 points on 7-13 shooting. Taylor Ford added 10 points and a game-best six assists.
Mary Nixon scored 13 points and grabbed eight boards. Manza El added nine points.
To read more, click here.
Lending a Helping Hand
For the season, UALR is recording an assist on 55.6% of its baskets, good enough for the third-best percentage of assisted baskets in the SBC. ULM leads the conference with assists on 63.1 percent of its baskets.
With 148 assists and 150 turnovers, UALR by far has the best assist/turnover ratio in the conference. After starting the first three games of the year with 36 assists and 64 turnovers, UALR looks to join only 30 other teams in the country with a positive ratio.
You Look Familiar
While East and West Sun Belt Conference opponents usually only meet once a year, a South Alabama-UALR second meeting in March is not uncommon. In fact, UALR has played both South Alabama and Middle Tennessee four times in the SBC Tournament. The Trojans have not played any other conference team more than twice in the annual March event.
UALR fell to South Alabama in 2000 and '06 in the first round of the tournament. The Trojans avenged its earlier tournament losses the past two years, knocking out the Jaguars in the quarterfinals both seasons.
Holding the Lead
The Trojans keep a tight grip on their leads this season. In its 19 games this season, UALR has only trailed a total of 7:40 of a possible 300 minutes. UALR has not faced a deficit in four games the entire month of December and has only trailed 42 seconds in its last five contests. Take out the first half against Rice in which the Trojans trailed for 3:41, UALR has only trailed 3:59 of a possible 290 minutes in games it has won.
Trojans Rewind: Tulsa
For the second-straight meeting, UALR raced to a double-digit lead in the first half against Tulsa. But unlike the first meeting, the Trojans expanded its advantage and claimed a 78-51 win.
UALR led by six early in the first half before Tulsa tied the game at 13 with 12 minutes left. Senior Janette Merriex gave the Trojans the lead for good on a triple, the first of three in the span of 2:36. TU cut the lead to eight in the second half before another Merriex trey gave the home team a double-digit lead for good.
It was a game of career-bests for Merriex. She made 7-10 from beyond the arc and finished with 22 points. Merriex also grabbed nine boards, eight of which came in the first half alone.
Sophomore Taylor Gault added 20 points, the most points since exploding for 31 against Oral Roberts Nov. 21.
Sophomore Taylor Ford added a game-best seven assists. She also scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds.
To read more, click here.
UALR will return to action in a week (Dec. 29) when it travels to Lafayette, La. to take on Louisiana-Lafayette. Tip-off against the Rajin' Cajuns from the Cajundome is set for 5 p.m.