CORVALLIS, Ore. -- An ice-cold shooting stretch that lasted the entire first quarter ultimately left the University of Arkansas at Little Rock women's basketball team frozen out of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
UALR managed just two points on 1-of-15 shooting from the field in the opening quarter of its 68-51 loss to Gonzaga in the tournament's first round at Oregon State University's Gill Coliseum.
"They came out a little more physical than we were," said UALR Coach Joe Foley, whose team made its second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance after winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title. "It took us a bit to adjust."
Senior Ronjanae DeGray scored the Trojans' only points of the first quarter, putting in an offensive rebound following a missed jumper by senior Yanina Inkina. By then, Gonzaga was already up 16-0, UALR having missed its first 10 field-goal attempts.
Gonzaga did two things exceptionally well defensively in the first quarter: The Bulldogs limited the Trojans' number of offensive rebounds, and they made sure nearly every shot was contested.
"We gave ourselves a little bit of a buffer," Gonzaga Coach Lisa Fortier said. "We knew they were going to make some runs on us, which they did, but we were able to limit them."
UALR twice climbed back to within nine points later in the contest -- both times due largely to clutch baskets from sophomore guards Tori Lasker and Terrion Moore, who led the Trojans with 16 and 13 points, respectively.
"We don't stop playing until the buzzer at the end," Lasker said. "That's just the kind of team we are."
However, the Trojans (21-11) could get no closer. They pulled within 10 on a basket by junior guard Kyra Collier late in the fourth quarter, but Gonzaga limited UALR to just one field goal -- a layup by DeGray -- in the final three minutes to seal the victory.
DeGray and Collier entered Saturday's contest as the Trojans' leading scorers, each averaging nearly 15 points per game. Gonzaga held both players well below their averages, as each finished with just six points.
"We wanted to make sure that all of their shots were contested," Fortier said. "We didn't want it to be easy."
DeGray led UALR with seven rebounds. Her twin sister Raeyana DeGray finished with six points and six rebounds.
Senior forward Zykera Rice scored 18 points to lead Gonzaga. Junior guard Katie Campbell added 15 for the Bulldogs on 5-of-6 shooting from three-point range.
Lasker also shot well from behind the arc, making four of her nine three-point attempts and 6 of 11 shots overall. Two of her three pointers came during an 18-6 run in the second quarter in which UALR cut Gonzaga's lead to 29-20.
Moore scored seven of her points in the same span.
Campbell made a three-pointer with roughly 34 seconds left in the first half to give the Bulldogs a 32-20 lead at intermission.
The Trojans' trimmed Gonzaga's lead to nine when Lasker converted a coast-to-coast layup with roughly three minutes remaining in the third quarter. UALR was down by 11 entering the fourth. However, the Bulldogs widened their lead to 58-42 in the final quarter to pull away.
Gonzaga’s Chandler Smith (left) and Katie Campbell celebrate after the final buzzer of the Bulldogs’ victory over the Trojans on Saturday.
Sports on 03/24/2019
Print Headline: Bad one, then done: Cold opening quarter sinks UALR