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South Alabama had already blown one big second-half lead leading to a loss in the Natural State this week. It didn't let it happen a second time Saturday afternoon in Little Rock.

The Jaguars took a 14-point lead over the University of Arkansas at Little Rock women's basketball team early in the fourth quarter, but it was down to six with just under five minutes left after an 8-0 Trojans' run, highlighted by senior guard Kyra Collier's back-to-back steals that she turned into layups.

That spark didn't last, though, as UALR fell apart late and South Alabama regained control to win 57-42 at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.

Less than 48 hours removed from blowing a 21-point lead in the third quarter to lose by six at Arkansas State University on Thursday, South Alabama (14-16, 9-9 Sun Belt Conference) rebounded to spoil UALR's senior day and split the season series. Just two weeks ago, the Trojans had beaten South Alabama by 11 points on its home floor to give UALR Coach Joe Foley his 800th career victory.

The Trojans (11-18, 9-9) could have clinched at least one more home game with a win Saturday. Instead, they dropped to the fifth seed in the Sun Belt Tournament. UALR will face eighth-seeded Appalachian State (11-18, 8-10) in the first round at 3 p.m. Central on Tuesday and attempt to salvage what's been the program's worst season since 2005-06.

"It's just a matter of change of attitudes, getting positive and knowing what we can and can't do," said Collier, who finished with a team-high 16 points, a career-high 7 steals and 5 rebounds. "[We've] just got to keep everybody rolling and understand that this is a new season, and we got to put this behind us and turn the corner."

The Trojans -- who closed the regular season with seven losses in their final eight games -- didn't have a field goal over the last 4:56 and were outscored 42-27 over the final three quarters. UALR shot a season-worst 20.4% from the field, made only 11 field goals and went 3-of-16 from three-point range.

Foley has watched his team struggle offensively for the better part of the past month, mostly chalking it up to a simple inability to knock down open shots.

Foley didn't offer much else afterward Saturday than that. He appeared ready for his postgame news conference to end almost as soon as it began as he stood to the side of the podium.

"OK guys, looks like this one's pretty short and sweet," Foley said. "Can't put the ball in the hole, can't win."

Asked why his team is struggling so much lately to shoot the ball, Foley attributed it to a lack of confidence.

"You have to be able to play with confidence and enthusiasm if you're gonna play, and if you don't have confidence, you usually don't have enthusiasm, so they got to find a way to get their confidence back," Foley said. "We just got to encourage them to do what they're supposed to do -- play it like we've played it for the last 15 years."

South Alabama wasn't overly impressive offensively at times either, turning the ball over 21 times and hitting 7 of 15 free throws.

But the Jaguars made up for it by shooting 44.7% from the field and hitting 8 of 19 three-pointers. And on a day when its half-court offense struggled as much as it has all season, UALR didn't do enough with South Alabama's turnovers, scoring 17 points off of them.

Center Antoinette Lewis led the Jaguars with 16 points and 9 rebounds and hit 8 of 9 from the floor, but it was guard Shaforia Kines' 12 first-half points, including hitting 3-of-3 from deep, that carried South Alabama to a 32-22 lead at the break. Kines finished with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.

UALR's offense could never get much going in the second half.

After Collier's back-to-back layups midway through the fourth quarter pulled the Trojans within 46-40, South Alabama closed the game on an 11-2 run.

With their season on the brink, the Trojans have two days off to figure out what happened to their offense.

"You just got to be able to make plays, have enthusiasm, make plays, have the confidence to make them. If you have that, you'll do it, and if you don't, it just gets worse -- and it's kind of gotten worse," Foley said. "I can tell you guys, it's hard, but it don't matter if you're 15-3 going into the tournament or 5-10 or whatever, next week's a big week. That's the biggest week of the year."

S. ALABAMA M FG FT O-R PF A PTS

Centers 30 3-8 0-0 2-7 2 1 8

Lewis 28 8-9 0-2 4-9 3 2 16

Kines 36 4-11 2-4 2-7 0 3 13

Morrow 24 3-6 1-2 0-1 2 3 8

Jones 39 2-4 3-3 0-8 3 1 9

Mallard 21 0-3 0-2 1-6 1 0 0

Buster 15 1-5 1-2 0-0 1 0 3

Vaught 7 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 2 0

Team 2-2

Totals 200 21-47 7-15 11-41 12 12 57

PCT. -- FG 44.7, FT 46.7. 3-PT. -- 8-19, 42.1 (Kines 3-5, Jones 2-3, Centers 2-5, Morrow 1-2, Mallard 0-2, Buster 0-2). BL -- 5 (Lewis 3). TO -- 21 (Centers 6, Kines 6). ST -- 4 (Jones 2).

UALR M FG FT O-R PF A PTS

Vornes 14 0-4 2-2 3-6 3 0 2

Battle 33 1-10 12-12 2-4 3 2 14

Lasker 38 2-7 0-0 0-1 2 2 4

Chastain 34 2-8 0-0 0-1 0 0 6

Collier 38 6-18 3-4 2-5 3 0 16

Knapp 26 0-3 0-0 3-6 2 0 0

Francis 10 0-0 0-0 0-3 0 0 0

Scott 8 0-4 0-0 0-1 0 0 0

Team 4-7

Totals 200 11-54 17-18 14-34 13 4 42

PCT. -- FG 20.4, FT 94.4. 3-PT. -- 3-16, 18.8 (Chastain 2-6, Collier 1-6, Scott 0-1, Lasker 0-3). BL -- 3 (Knapp 2). TO -- 13 (Battle 3). ST -- 14 (Collier 7).

South Alabama;15;17;10; 15;--;57

UALR;15;7;8;12;--;42

Technicals -- UALR team 2nd 3:13

Officials -- Stanton, Koch, Clayton.

Attendance -- 843.

Sports on 03/08/2020

Print Headline: Trojans' offensive woes continue in loss to Jaguars

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