The University of Arkansas at Little Rock women's basketball team endured a slow start to defeat Louisiana-Monroe 57-37 on Sunday at the Jack Stephens Center but still managed to give Trojans Coach Joe Foley his 750th career victory.
Foley had a 456-81 record at Arkansas Tech University from 1987-2002. Sunday's victory extended his record at UALR to 294-161.
"Means I've been coaching a long time," said Foley, who became the 29th coach in NCAA Division history in men's and women's basketball to reach 750 career victories. "That means I've had some great kids, I've had some great teams, and it hasn't been a 2-3 year deal. It's been 30 years of coaching great kids."
Junior forward Ronjanae DeGray scored a career-high 23 points for UALR (5-8, 2-0 Sun Belt), helping stir an offense that only held a 24-18 halftime lead.
Graduate forward Keanna Keys was the only Trojan who could score in the game's first five minutes. Keys was 3 of 3 shooting, including a fastbreak layup after a steal that set UALR up 4-2 with 7:51 left in the first quarter.
The rest of the team was 0 for 8, and the Trojans maintained their small lead with stout defense and offensive rebounding.
UALR outrebounded Louisiana-Monroe (3-10, 0-2) in the first five minutes 8-5, which included three offensive rebounds in one possession. That led to a Keys jumper from the right elbow, which set the Trojans ahead 6-2 with 6:33 left in the first.
After junior guard Kira Shepard made a shot from the right elbow, the Trojans didn't score for the next three minutes. The Warhawks took their only lead, 9-8, when sophomore guard Carissa Moody made a three-pointer with 2:13 left in the first.
DeGray made the final two shots of the quarter as the Trojans regained the lead, 12-9.
Both teams combined to miss five shots at the start of the second quarter.
The Warhawks played loosely in their man defense, cramming the paint and leaving open the long shots for the nation's seventh-worst three-point shooting team (23.6 percent).
UALR was 1 of 5 in its three-point shots, and the Trojans struggled to find ways to create enough space for open shots near the basket. Louisiana-Monroe drew three offensive charges by the middle of the second quarter.
Then, UALR senior guard Monique Townson drove to the basket, stepped back and made a short-range jump shot to extend the lead to 18-14 with 4:45 left in the half.
The Trojans began to set screens beneath the basket, leading to clear looks and four consecutive baskets to take a 24-18 lead into halftime.
"We just had to refocus and start cutting more," said Townson, who had 3 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists. "Getting more people touches inside so we can play inside out and get our bigs more shots where they needed it."
By the third quarter, UALR became more creative with its outside game. On one possession, DeGray passed to an open Townson on the left wing, who drew two defenders as she drove to the rim. Townson flipped a pass back to DeGray, who made the short-range shot to give UALR a 29-18 lead with 7:12 left in the third.
The Warhawks made just seven field goals during the second half.
UALR will next play at Georgia State on Thursday.
UALR’s Monique Townson drives to the basket against Louisiana-Monroe on Sunday at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock. The Trojans won 57-37.
Sports on 01/01/2018
Print Headline: Foley wins 750th in UALR triumph