During last month's season opener against No. 12 Texas A&M, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock women's basketball team struggled to 35 points and 27.6% shooting.
Although disappointing, that performance was against a national powerhouse that consistently makes deep NCAA Tournament runs.
A similar offensive effort Monday night at the Jack Stephens Center against a team no one will confuse for Texas A&M raised major red flags. UALR's offense was nowhere to be found against Louisiana Tech -- a former national power that has failed to make the NCAA Tournament in the past eight seasons -- as the Trojans suffered a 43-38 defeat.
UALR (1-6) shot a season-low 24.1% from the field and went nearly 14 minutes in the second half without a field goal as the Trojans dropped a third consecutive game. UALR Coach Joe Foley didn't need to say much to explain what went wrong.
"All I know to say is cold, cold, cold," Foley said. "Can't shoot the ball."
Foley said he was pleased with the overall shot selection. The shots simply didn't fall, as UALR is now shooting 34.9% through the first seven games.
"Had some good shots. Just a lot of young kids shooting the ball, just not a lot of confidence yet," Foley said. "They're gonna have to play their way through it. Figure it out."
Even senior guard Kyra Collier, the Trojans' leading scorer, didn't have it easy. She finished with a game-high 17 points, but it came on 7-of-18 shooting.
Her final two field goal attempts were both three-point makes in the final minute of the game, which prevented UALR from going the entire fourth quarter without scoring. Foley indicated that Louisiana Tech made it a point to clamp down on her.
"They just played pretty tight. Just trying to keep the ball out of my hands," Collier said. "Nothing that I haven't seen."
Sophomore forward Krystan Vornes tallied 8 points and 9 rebounds, and senior guard Sydney Chastain finished with a career-high 12 rebounds for the Trojans.
Louisiana Tech (4-2) wasn't much better offensively, shooting 27.1% from the floor, but it did hit 6 of 16 three-pointers. The Lady Techsters made timely plays in the fourth quarter to pull away.
After closing the final 4:40 of the third quarter without a field goal, UALR trailed 34-32 heading into the final period.
No one had a field goal in the fourth quarter until Louisiana Tech guard Raizel Guinto buried a three-pointer from the right wing with 4:44 remaining, giving the Lady Techsters a 39-32 lead -- at the time their largest lead -- to provide them with enough separation.
Two minutes and 19 seconds later, guard Keiunna Walker scored in the paint to extend the lead to 41-32, then she hit a layup in transition with 1:08 left to make it 43-32. Walker led Louisiana Tech with 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting.
Collier finally lifted the lid off the basket for UALR when she drilled a long three with 56 seconds left, ending a field goal drought of 13:47 for the Trojans. Then she hit another with 11 seconds left.
By then, it was too little, too late.
"If you hold a team to 43 points, you ought to be able to win," Foley said. "Defensively, I thought we improved. Offensively, we got a long ways to go."
UALR and Louisiana Tech went back and forth in the first quarter and were tied 14-14 after 10 minutes. The Trojans forced six turnovers and capitalized with nine points off of them.
Both offenses slowed down in the second quarter, and UALR didn't have a field goal until Collier scored on a layup in transition with 1:39 left in the quarter. That ended a field goal drought of 9:30. Louisiana Tech held a 24-23 halftime advantage.
The Lady Techsters, who are coached by ex-Foley assistant Brooke Stoehr, outscored UALR 10-9 in both the second and third quarters, and 9-6 in the final quarter.
The Trojans return home Saturday against Tulsa (3-4) for a 2 p.m. tipoff. They hope their offense will show up, too.
"Guys, I got to believe in [my team]. I believe in them. They're not doing it on purpose," Foley said. "They're wanting to get it done. They just don't know how to do it yet, and that's my job. I got to do a better job of helping them."
Sports on 12/03/2019
Print Headline: UALR women can't find buckets