With less than a month left in the regular season, the third-seeded women’s basketball team (7-4, 5-2) came into Friday’s match needing a win over Arkansas State University to take over the second seed in the West Division of the Sun Belt Conference.
That would come to fruition as the Lady Mavericks defeated the Red Wolves 62-43 on Friday at College Park Center, with senior forward Bre Wickware and junior guard Terryn Milton scoring in double digits, leading UTA in the victory.
“Proud of our kids,” head coach Shereka Wright said. “We were very aggressive, and we were able to capitalize off of turning them over and leading to some easy baskets for us.”
In the first period, it seemed as if Arkansas State would control the game as they took a 12-4 lead with 2:40 remaining in the period. UTA scored five quick points to cut the lead to 12-9 going into the second quarter.
That comeback trend continued for the Lady Mavericks as they held the Red Wolves to just eight points in the second quarter while putting up 25 points on 11-16 shooting from the field. UTA led 34-20 at the half.
Wright said the team was successful at rebounding, boxing out and recognizing who was shooting the ball, leading to results in the second quarter.
“We focused in on the things that we had to do to be successful,” Wright said. “Our activity really, really got us going.”
The third quarter was much of the same. The Red Wolves did make a push to bring UTA’s lead down to single digits, but it wasn’t enough as the Lady Mavericks led by 14 points at the end of the period.
UTA continued to hold off the Red Wolves in the fourth quarter, seizing the first of two critical wins needed to climb in the West Division standings.
Wickware ended the game with 12 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Milton ended with 12 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
Wright said that the team knew Friday’s game was critical to win in order to gain momentum going into Saturday’s game. She said the same intensity and passion she coaches with is what she wants to see out of her team come Saturday.
“We took care of game one. We want to make sure we take care of game two,” Wright said. “There’s no relaxing at this point.”
The Lady Mavericks will be back in action at 4 p.m. Saturday at College Park Center for the second game of the series against Arkansas State.