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UALR goes outside to get rematch win

by Eli Lederman | February 7, 2021 at 3:35 a.m.

After allowing 42 points in the paint Friday night, Texas State clogged the interior Saturday and UALR Coach Joe Foley turned to his shooters for offensive production.

Ky'lie Scott provided it.

The sophomore guard scored a game-high 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, as the University of Arkansas at Little Rock beat Texas State 63-49 to complete a weekend sweep at the Jack Stephens Center.

"Coach Foley said I was going to have to step up and shoot," Scott said. "My teammates kept getting me open, so I just kept shooting."

UALR (10-7, 7-5 Sun Belt) drowned out 21 turnovers -- their most since Dec. 10 -- with a season-high 56.8% shooting against the Bobcats (7-9, 4-7).

Texas State's focus on protecting the paint limited senior forwards Teal Battle and Krystan Vornes to eight points each, but the Trojans matched a season-high by shooting 50% from three-point range. They never trailed again after Scott and junior Mayra Caicedo drained three-pointers in the final 1:13 of the first quarter.

Caicedo finished with 9 points and 8 assists, and freshman Tia Harvey scored 7 with 4 rebounds and 3 assists in her second consecutive start.

Bobcats junior Ja'Kayla Bowie scored 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the third quarter, and led Texas State with 14 points. Da'Nasia Hood, the Sun Belt's leading scorer (16.9 ppg), shot 4 of 13 from the field and exited with 9 points when she fouled out with 1:45 remaining.

The Bobcats drew within three points before the Trojans closed the final 7:47 of the game with a 15-4 run. Scott scored five points during that stretch.

"She's a shooter on the perimeter and she did her job," Foley said. "She's got to realize that is her job, and that's what we've got to have. Some nights it'll be there, some nights it won't. If that's what they're going to give you, you better be willing to take it."

UALR scored one field goal in its first nine possessions and trailed 8-2 before the Trojans hit four of their final five shots of the first quarter to lead 14-12. Sophomore Alayzha Knapp scored on consecutive possessions after a pair of Caicedo free throws, and Scott's three-pointer with 15 seconds remaining in the quarter put UALR ahead for good.

The second quarter was scoreless for the first 4:07 before Scott hit the second of her four three-pointers. Hood ended a seven-minute Texas State scoring drought with back-to-back field goals, but the Trojans entered the half up 29-19.

The Bobcats scored 7 points on 3-of-12 shooting while committing 8 turnovers in the second quarter.

"We did what we do best: run," Vornes said. "It's the Joe Foley system. Get them tired, and that's how we take over."

The Trojans led 36-28 in the third quarter when Battle exited with 5:22 remaining after two offensive fouls, her third and fourth of the game. She didn't return until the 4:28 mark of the fourth quarter, and the Bobcats narrowed the gap to 43-41 on Bowie's three-pointer in the final minute of the third period. Angelique Francis completed a three-point play on the next possession to put UALR ahead 46-41.

Francis' second-chance score with 6:45 remaining kick-started the 15-4 closing run. Battle returned and scored four consecutive points, and Caicedo's crafty finish at the rim closed the scoring with 33 seconds left.

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