Louisiana-Monroe scored its first two points with 57 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
By then, 9:03 minutes after the opening tip, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's women's basketball team had already scored the game's first 17 points to put the Warhawks in a huge hole. The Trojans' opening victory of the Sun Belt Conference season was quickly secured.
UALR's scorching start paved the way to a 63-44 victory Thursday night at the Jack Stephens Center for their 14th consecutive victory over the Warhawks. The victory was UALR's first at home since Nov. 14 against Florida Atlantic.
"That's the point no matter who it is. We tried to get them not to score," said UALR (5-7, 1-0 Sun Belt Conference) senior forward Ronjanae DeGray, who had a game-high 23 points, two shy of her career high.Gallery: UALR Women's Basketball vs ULM
DeGray, the Sun Belt Conference's Preseason Player of the Year, made 10 of her 13 field goal attempts and went 3-for-4 from the free-throw line in 30 minutes. She scored 13 of her points in the first half as UALR took a 34-14 lead into intermission. She also added seven rebounds to share game-high honors with teammate Kyra Collier.
For UALR Coach Joe Foley, it was good to see DeGray dominate offensively at times.
"It was," Foley said. "She's struggled a little bit at times. But the conference-opening game, it's a good time for her to start breaking in."
DeGray has scored in double digits in each of her past four games.
"I'm just trying to capitalize off of last year," DeGray said. "No, take that back, scratch that, I'm trying to be better than I was last year. Just playing ball, trying to get back and find my new self."
Collier, a junior guard, finished with 12 points to go with 7 rebounds, including 2 offensively.
UALR held Louisiana-Monroe to five assists, the fewest the Trojans have allowed in a single game this season.
Louisiana-Monroe -- which shot 14-for-42 from the field, 4-for-13 on three-pointers and 12-for-20 from the free-throw line -- scored 10 or fewer points in each of the first three quarters and committed 20 total turnovers. The Warhawks managed 20 points in the fourth quarter.
It was UALR's first home game since Dec. 8. It was good to be back at the Jack Stephens Center, DeGray said.
"We needed a win on our home court," she said. "It's been a long time since we had one of those. I'm proud of my team. New year. New season."
ARKANSAS STATE 87, LA.-LAFAYETTE 75
Peyton Martin finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead Arkansas State (6-6, 1-0 Sun Belt) past Louisiana-Lafayette (2-10, 0-1) at First National Bank Arena in Jonesboro.
Jireh Washington had 15 points and 5 assists for the Red Wolves, who shot 48.4 percent (31 of 64) from the floor.
Also for ASU, Morgan Wallace scored 13 points and Akasha Westbrook added 10 points.
Brandi Williams led the Ragin’ Cajuns with 25 points. Andrea Cournoyer had 21 points.
ASU didn’t take its first lead until Mar-tin hit two free throws with 3:23 left in the first quarter to make it 12-10. The Red Wolves wouldn’t trail for the remainder of the game.
The Red Wolves took a 41-35 lead into halftime and while their largest lead was 12 points late in the fourth quarter, it held at least a two-possession advantage throughout the majority of the second half.
UALR’s Ronjanae DeGray (00) lays in a shot while being defended by Louisiana-Monroe’s Jamie Means during Thursday night’s game at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock. DeGray had 23 points and seven rebounds in UALR’s victory. See more photos at arkansasonline.com/galleries.
UALR guard Sydney Chastain (left) defends Louisiana Monroe’s Lauren Fitch during the third quarter Thursday night at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.
Sports on 01/04/2019
Print Headline: Hot from the start: Host Trojans blow past Warhawks