Courtesy: Mark Wagner
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UALR Prepares for Showdown with Middle Tennessee Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
UALR Sports Information
Release: 02/16/2013

The Opening Tip

     UALR (17-7, 9-6 SBC) takes a break from Sun Belt West play when it hosts East-leading Middle Tennessee (18-6, 13-2) Saturday at 4:30 p.m. With a win, the Trojans move into a first-place tie with Arkansas State in the SBC West.

     Unable to attend? There are multiple ways you can follow all the action. If you want to listen to audio, you can hear Phil Elson (Play-by-Play) and Ron Jumper (Color) either on terrestrial radio at 920 AM or via the world wide web by clicking here. For subscription video, you can watch on UALR's athletic web site by clicking here. Finally, live stats can be found here.


Quick Hits

  • UALR (17-7, 9-6 SBC) looks to keep pace with Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Conference West Division when it hosts East-leading Middle Tennessee (18-6, 13-2 SBC) Saturday (Feb. 16).
  • UALR beat rival Arkansas State on Wednesday (Feb. 13) despite being outshot 45-7-38.7 percent. However, the Trojans outrebounded ASU 40-29 and took 16 more shots.
  • With 13 points against Arkansas State, sophomore Ka'Nesheia Cobbins has reached double-digit scoring in three games this season. UALR is 3-0 in those games.
  • The Trojans have won their last 78 games, dating back to the 2007-08 season, when holding opponents to 50 points or less.
  • Middle Tennessee is 7-0 on the road but 6-2 at home in Sun Belt Conference play.


Scouting Middle Tennessee

     Despite a 74-70 (OT) loss to Troy on Sunday (Feb. 9), Middle Tennessee (18-6, 13-2 SBC) holds a two-game lead in the conference over rival Western Kentucky. Both losses for the Blue Raiders in conference play have come at home, the first time Middle Tennessee has lost a conference game at home since UALR beat MTSU 66-53 on Feb. 6, 2008. Middle Tennessee is 7-0 on the road in SBC play.

     In its last game, MTSU tied the game after a 12-point halftime deficit, but Troy prevailed in overtime 74-70. Ebony Rowe (28) and Kortni Jones (22) combined for 50 of the team's 70 points. Rowe also added the double-double with 14 rebounds, including nine offensive boards. 

     Middle Tennessee comes at opponents with a trio of players averaging more than 14 points a game. Ebony Rowe leads the way and is 10th in the country with 21.3 points per game. Coupled with a 21st-best 10.8 rebounding average, Rowe has 14 double-doubles for the season. Kortni Jones contributes 15.3 points per game while Icelyn Elie adds 14.2.

     A key to beating Middle Tennessee is to exploit the fact the Blue Raiders average allowing its opponents to shoot 40.1 percent. However, MTSU shoots 41.5 percent themselves and will test UALR's conference-best 32.8 shooting percentage defense.


Flashback to Earlier this Year

     The Trojans battled back from an eight-point first half deficit to take a 37-35 lead, but 10 unanswered by the home team lifted Middle Tennessee over UALR 65-56 on Jan. 16 at the Murphy Center.

     Freshman Shanity James came off the bench to lead UALR with 18 points, finishing 6-9 from the field and 6-8 from the charity stripe. James also added a team-high eight boards.

     Middle Tennessee was led by Ebony Rowe's 35 points and 17 rebounds. Icelyn Elie had 14 while Kortni Jones contributed 10 points and eight rebounds.   

     To read more, click here.


Career Records Watch

     A trio of players have their eyes on the UALR career record book. Senior Janette Merriex is third with 153 career threes, 59 behind second-place Jocelyn Love (2003-07). Junior Taylor Ford is sixth with 255 assists, 23 behind Pam Tiller (1981-85). Finally, sophomore Taylor Gault is already 10th with 881 points, 102 behind ninth-place B.J. Higginbotham (1978-81).


Defense is the Name of the Game

     Starting the 2012-13 season 11-3 overall, UALR was 33rd in the country while surrendering only 53.6 points per game. The Trojans then went on a four game losing streak, giving up an average of 64.5 points to fall to 56th in the country.

     In its current six game winning streak, UALR is allowing an average of 48.2 points and is now 40th in defense, allowing 54.3 points per game.

     Including this season, UALR is one of only four teams in the nation who can claim a top-50 ranking in scoring defense since the 2005-06 season (UCONN, Rutgers and Marist).


I'll Clean That Up

     In the Trojans first 18 games of the season, they grabbed the rebound on 36.4 percent (217-595) of their missed shots. During its current six-game winning streak, UALR is rebounding 43.5 percent (80-184) of their missed shots.

     Crashing the glass is a good thing, but it is not effective unless it results in points. The Trojans are out-scoring its opponents 87-26 in second-chance points during their winning streak, including 37-2 in the last two games.


Trojans Rewind: Arkansas State

     In the battle of the two hottest shooting teams in the Sun Belt Conference, it was the home team who came out on top in that category. However, it was a Trojans 40-29 rebounding edge that allowed UALR to pull out the 54-50 win at Arkansas State Wednesday (Feb. 13).

     ASU held a 45.7 percent (21-46) to 38.7 percent (24-62) edge in shooting, but UALR answered with 16 more shots thanks to 17 forced turnovers and a 16-4 advantage on the offensive glass. The Trojans outscored the Red Wolves 13-0 in second-chance points.

     Individually, a trio of UALR starters reached double-digits in scoring. Junior Taylor Ford recorded 16 points for the fourth time in six games. Sophomore Kiera Clark added 14 points, including 12 points on 6-10 shooting in the second half.

     Sophomore Ka'Nesheia Cobbins scored 13 points while freshman Shanity James grabbed a game-high nine boards.

     To read more, click here.


Next Up:

     UALR closes out interdivisional play this week when it travels to South Florida to take on FIU and Florida Atlantic. The Trojans take on the Panthers Thursday (Feb. 21) at 4:30 p.m. CST.

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