GM 5 >> UALR (2-2) at Oral Roberts (1-4)
Saturday, Nov. 30 • 3 p.m. (CST)
Tulsa, Okla. • Mabee Center
Live Stats/Video: ORUGoldenEagles.com
Radio: Phil Elson (PxP) on 920 AM
LITTLE ROCK – The Trojans are back to their winning ways after an exciting overtime victory against Memphis last Friday. Now they’ll get the chance to extend their winning streak to two games when they travel to Oral Roberts on Saturday afternoon. Trojans fans can follow along with live stats and video at ORUGoldenEagles.com or listen to the game on local radio on 920 AM.
· Despite trailing by as many as six points with five minutes left, UALR came from behind multiple times to force overtime and eventually defeat Memphis 68-63 on Nov. 22. Taylor Gault – who led UALR in scoring with 19 points off the bench – got the layup with 2:07 left in overtime that would give the Trojans the lead for good.
· The Trojans committed a season-high 30 fouls in the game – the most in a game since 2002 -- most since but lucked out when Memphis missed 14 free throws.
· Shanity James (18), Gault (19) and Kaitlyn Pratt (career-best 12) all reached double digits in points. James has now scored at least 10 points in 10 straight contests while Gault has reached that number in 11 of 12 games.
· UALR and Oral Roberts have only clashed three times, with the Golden Eagles claiming two victories. The Trojans won most recently, taking a 32-point win last year in Little Rock.
· Coach Joe Foley would get his 200th career victory at UALR with a win on Saturday.
ABOUT THE TROJANS
Despite a lack of depth due to injuries, UALR remains a competitive squad that is only getting better early in the season. UALR has won both its games at home and lost both on the road, but the team will be looking to break that streak this weekend at Oral Roberts. The Trojans are getting double digit points per game from Taylor Gault (16.8), Shanity James (13.3) and Kiera Clark (12.3) so far, and all five freshmen are beginning to contribute as they learn the team’s system. Now with Carolee Dillard back from splitting time with the volleyball team, UALR might have another body down low to help with its low rebounding numbers.
The Trojans are riding a huge wave of success over the last decade, making the postseason for the last six seasons including three NCAA Tournament berths and three WNIT trips. With a roster that returns all five starters from 2012-13, the Trojans are favored by the league’s coaches to win the conference this season.
ABOUT ORAL ROBERTS
· The Golden Eagles, based in Tulsa, Okla., began the season with a win over Division II University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma but followed that with four consecutive losses to bigger programs in Kansas, Arkansas, Navy and Tulsa on Tuesday night.
· Despite their 1-4 start, the Golden Eagles are a strong team, posting an 18-13 record last year with a brand new head coach and winning the Southland Conference Tournament and regular season.
· Oral Roberts has three different players averaging more than 10 points per game. Kaylan Mayberry leads in that category with 11.8 points per game while Alexus Wilson is close behind with 11.4. Christian Key is the last player in double digits, scoring 10.4 per game. Jenni Bryan is close to that mark with 9.4 per game.
· Center Sarah Shelton has been the only non-guard starting for the Golden Eagles this season. She leads the team with 9.8 rebounds per game, 1.8 blocks per game and 1.4 steals per game.
· Coach Misti Cussen is now in command of the Golden Eagles for the second year. She went 18-13 last season, winning the conference tournament before losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. She was an assistant at ORU for 16 years before taking over the head job.
THE SERIES AGAINST ORAL ROBERTS
UALR and Oral Roberts have squared off just three times in their history. The Golden Eagles won the first ever meeting in 1988, and the teams did not play again until 23 years later in 2011. Oral Roberts won that meeting as well. Last year, though, the Trojans got their first victory against the Golden Eagles by a 79-47 score. Taylor Gault came two shy of her career high with 31 points in that game while Taylor Ford and Hannah Fohne each scored 10.
A WIN AGAINST ORAL ROBERTS WOULD…
…extend the Trojans’ winning streak in the series to two games…improve UALR to 2-2 all-time against the Golden Eagles…be Joe Foley’s 200th career victory at UALR…Be the Trojans’ first victory over Oral Roberts in Tulsa.
UALR VS. THE SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE
The Trojans are 23-38 all-time against current members of the Southland Conference since the 1978-79 season, though those numbers are largely skewed by a 2-18 record against a Central Arkansas squad that UALR last faced in 1987 when it was at the NAIA level. The Trojans have winning records all-time against McNeese State (2-0), New Orleans (12-8), Nicholls State (2-1) and Sam Houston State (3-0). UALR has never played Abilene Christian, Houston Baptist, Lamar, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi or Incarnate Word. The team will play Incarnate Word later this season.
MASCOT DÉJÀ VU?
Oral Roberts will be UALR’s second opponent this season with Golden Eagles as its mascot. UALR also faced Southern Miss on Nov. 19, losing to those Golden Eagles by a 72-60 score.
UALR’s game against Oral Roberts begins a three-game road stretch for the Trojans that is the longest of their season. Following their game in Tulsa on Saturday, UALR will head to Austin, Texas, for a matchup with the Texas Longhorns on Wednesday. UALR ends the road trip where it began, battling Tulsa in Oklahoma on Dec. 7. After this trip, the Trojans will not play more than two consecutive games at home or on the road for the rest of the 2013-14 regular season.
GAULT MOVING UP THE RANKINGS
Junior Taylor Gault had three 3-pointers against Memphis in the second half, and those three helped her move up the all-time rankings at UALR. Gault is now in sole possession of eighth place in that category with 81 makes from downtown. She’ll move up to seventh in that category with 14 more. She’ll also take over eighth all-time in school history in career points when she scores four more and seventh when she gets 15 more.
UALR has not played in many overtime games during coach Joe Foley’s career, but the victory on Friday makes the Trojans 7-7 in overtime contests since Foley’s arrival in 2003. The team won three overtime games in 2008-09, which was also the last time UALR claimed an extra-period victory during the regular season. The Trojans’ most recent overtime win came in the Sun Belt Tournament in March 2012. Two of the team’s seven overtime wins in Foley’s tenure have come in the postseason.
NO SHOT AT LONG SHOTS
The Trojans pride themselves on defense, and so far this year their perimeter defense is tops in the Sun Belt. UALR has allowed opponents to shoot just 25 percent from 3-point range, the best mark in the league. Of the 48 deep shots attempted by opponents, only 12 have gone in. That number is a full five made baskets lower than Louisiana, who is second in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage defense (25.4 percent, 17 of 67). Nationally, UALR’s percentage in this category ties the team for 57th.
PRATT DOESN’T FALL
Freshman Kaitlyn Pratt had the best game of her young career against Memphis, scoring a career-best 12 points to finish third on the team in that category while earning her first ever start. Pratt played 26 minutes, also the most of her career, while making four field goals and four free throws. She also added four rebounds before fouling out late. Her 62.5 field goal percentage is third-best in the Sun Belt so far this year.
HOME SWEET HOME
UALR has lost both its road games this season, but the Trojans are much better at home. Currently on a seven-game winning streak at the Jack Stephens Center, UALR has not lost at home since January 12. Since the Jack Stephens Center opened for the start of the 2005-06 season, the Trojans are an incredible 102-20 in their home building, good for a winning percentage of .836. UALR is also 58-11 in conference games at the JSC, making them an even-better .841 in league games. The Trojans’ overall winning percentage at the Jack Stephens Center puts that building just outside the top 10 toughest places to play in the country.
The whistles continue to blow this year as teams across the country adjust to new rules that discourage hand-checking. After committing 29 fouls and having four players foul out against Missouri State on Nov. 13, UALR committed 30 fouls in their game against Memphis on Nov. 22. That total is the most in the Joe Foley era and the most since UALR committed 33 against Maryland-Eastern Shore in November 2002. The 2012-13 single-game high for fouls was 25 at ULM.
As a member of the UALR volleyball and women’s basketball teams, sophomore Carolee Dillard has been incredibly busy over the last few weeks as the seasons overlap. Dillard has been traveling to make games for both teams when possible, getting back to play against Memphis just one day after the volleyball season ended with a loss to Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Tournament. Dillard made her first two career 3-pointers at Southern Miss on Nov. 19 and leads UALR with three blocks on the year. For volleyball, Dillard led the Sun Belt in solo blocks. Now that the volleyball season has ended, she will return to the basketball team full time.
Senior Taylor Ford has dished out 24 assists in the season’s first three games, good for 6.0 assists per game. That average is tops in the Sun Belt Conference so far. Ford dished out 149 assists in 2012-13, two shy of the school record set by Shanika Butler in 2009-10, and she is currently fourth all-time at UALR with 321 assists and eighth all-time with 3.2 per game. She will move up to third all-time at UALR with 33 more assists. Junior Kiera Clark is also in the top 10 in the conference in assists category, tied for ninth with 3.3 assists per game.
LOGGING BIG MINUTES
Senior Taylor Ford and junior Kiera Clark are critical to the Trojans’ success this year, and they have been on the court plenty to prove it. Clark is second in the Sun Belt with 36.5 minutes played per game, while Ford is fifth at 33.8 and would be higher if she did not foul out against Memphis.
MAKING HER MINUTES COUNT
Junior Taylor Gault did not start on Nov. 19 at Southern Miss or on Nov. 22 against Memphis, but she still led the Trojans in scoring in both games. She had 14 against the Golden Eagles in only 16 minutes, and she recorded 19 against Memphis. Gault’s 16.8 points per game this year is third-best in the conference. Only twice in her career did Gault average more points per minute than she did against Southern Miss.
Sophomore Shanity James is on a scoring roll right now, as she has recorded double figures in scoring in her last 10 games. She had six consecutive games with 10 or more points at the end of last season, and she has scored 12, 13, 10 and 18 points in this season’s games. Her high total during this streak is 19 at Pacific in the WNIT in March. Junior Taylor Gault has a similar streak, recording double digits in 11 of her last 12 games. The lone game missing from that run was the regular-season finale last year against Arkansas State where she only played five minutes.
Senior Taylor Ford played in her 100th career game against Southern Miss, reaching that mark thanks to her seeing the court in every game of her career. If the Trojans play at least two games in the Sun Belt Tournament and Ford does not miss a game this season, she will tie Asriel Rolfe’s UALR record for games played in a career at 128. With three post-season games, Ford could hold the record all on her own when her time at UALR comes to an end.
CAREER NUMBERS WATCH
· Taylor Gault moved up to eighth all-time at UALR with three 3-pointers and recorded her 100th career assist.
· Joe Foley is one win away from 200 at UALR.
· Taylor Ford will move into third all-time at UALR with 33 more assists, and she needs just three more defensive rebounds to move up to fifth all-time in that category. She is also nine rebounds away from 400 in her career.
· Taylor Gault will move into sole possession of eighth all-time at UALR with four more points and seventh all-time with 22 more.
· Kiera Clark is six baskets shy of 200 in her career.
· Shanity James needs two more points to reach 300.
· Hannah Fohne will move into sole possession of the team’s all-time block total with 14 more.
UALR plays its second of three consecutive road games when it travels to Texas on Dec. 4 for a 7 p.m. game against the Longhorns. UALR will then play at Tulsa at 1 p.m. on Dec. 7.