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story.lead_photo.caption UALR’s Raeyana DeGray (right) fights for a loose ball with Arkansas State’s Peyton Martin during the Trojans’ 68-55 victory over the Red Wolves on Feb. 2. The teams meet again today in Jonesboro. - Photo by Thomas Metthe

JONESBORO -- This is an unusual spot for the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's women's basketball team.

The Trojans, the Sun Belt Conference's first-place team for several weeks, will enter today's noon game against Arkansas State University at First National Bank Arena on the heels of a loss.

UALR (15-9, 11-2) has only two losses against Sun Belt opponents, including a 71-66 defeat at Troy on Jan. 10 and last Saturday's 50-48 loss at Texas State when UALR made 17 of 44 shots (38.6 percent).

The last time the Trojans followed a loss, they beat South Alabama by 23 points on Jan. 12.

Losing isn't a familiar concept for the Trojans, who pummelled ASU 68-55 on Feb. 2.

"You hold them to 55 points, you've done a good job," UALR Coach Joe Foley said after that victory.

The Trojans led for 38:18 of 40 total minutes and once controlled a 19-point lead against the Red Wolves (9-15, 4-9). Arkansas State led by one point for 21 seconds in the first quarter.

"We actually did a really good job with their two leading scorers, [junior guard Kyra] Collier and [senior forward Ronjanae] DeGray," ASU Coach Brian Boyer recalled Thursday. "The unfortunate thing was others stepped up for them and had a big game."

ASU held Collier to nine points and DeGray to eight. While that was a positive, UALR's other three starters -- sophomore guards Tori Lasker and Terrion Moore, and senior forward Raeyana DeGray -- picked up the slack.

Moore posted a career-high 20 points. Raeyana DeGray added 16 points, one short of her career high, and secured 11 rebounds, which tied her career high. Lasker went 2 for 6 behind the three-point line and contributed 11 points and 6 assists.

The Red Wolves did force UALR into 20 turnovers, which remains the team's most in a Sun Belt game this season.

"That was at least a positive to see," Boyer said, "because Little Rock doesn't turn the ball over very often."

Today's game provides ASU with an opportunity to wash away a midseason slump that has pushed it to third-to-last in the league.

ASU followed its loss at UALR with a 69-58 victory at home against South Alabama on Feb. 7. Other than that, ASU is 0-9 since beginning Sun Belt play with a three-game winning streak.

"Obviously, we need to win some games here," Boyer said. "We went through a tough stretch earlier, and defensively things had fallen apart."

Arkansas State is 0-6 against UALR in the past six games. ASU has not defeated the Trojans since a 66-53 victory on Jan. 18, 2016, in Jonesboro.

The Red Wolves are last in the Sun Belt in scoring defense by allowing 74.2 points per game, which is nearly 20 points more than UALR's conference-best 57.5 points allowed per game.

ASU surrendered 68 and 67 points in losses at Texas State and Texas-Arlington on Feb. 14 and Feb. 16, respectively. Its defense has looked better lately, Boyer said.

"Last weekend at Texas, we were better defensively," Boyer said. "So hopefully we can continue to do that down the stretch."

ASU and UALR will each begin their final homestand of the season after Saturday's game.

Georgia Southern and Georgia State will each visit ASU and UALR next week. Both schools will end the regular season with two road games at Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe.

Sports on 02/23/2019

Print Headline: UALR women try to avoid losing skid


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