(AGENPARL) – MONROE (LOUISIANA), dom 17 gennaio 2021
MONROE, La. – ULM used a 7-0 first quarter run to claim an early nine-point lead, but Arkansas State stormed back over the middle two quarters to surge in front and take a 59-44 victory to sweep the weekend series Saturday afternoon at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.
“We’re proud of our effort,” ULM head coach Brooks Donald Williams said. “I thought we had really good effort amid some of the challenges that we had, shifting around positions. We have obviously got to address some of our scoring droughts. Some of that is fatigue and some of that is lack of movement. We’re going to look at that and put everybody in a better position. (Kierra) Brimzy did a really good job taking over at the point and we’ll continue to look at what is best for her and what is best for our offense when she’s running the point. We need to put Gracen Williams in a good position as well.”
The Warhawks had a strong defensive effort on Saturday afternoon and in the weekend series, forcing the Sun Belt Conference’s top scoring team to nearly 20 points below their season average and forced the best assist-to-turnover ratio team into more turnovers than assists. Arkansas State entered the weekend averaging 79.3 points per game, but ULM limited the Red Wolves to 64 and 59 points. A-State also had 18 assists on the weekend to 32 turnovers. However, the Warhawks couldn’t find the offense to match the defense.
“Our defensive buy-in is really good and has been since the day we walked in,” Brooks Williams said. “I think (Associate Head Coach) Christie Sides has done a really good job implementing our scout defense and building that buy-in culture defensively. Our kids have executed our defensive game plan each outing. It’s given us a chance to be in the game and compete. We’re really proud of that. It’s a win for us on the defensive side. When we put both sides together, we’re going to be really fun.”
ULM had an early spark. Kierra Brimzy made a 3-pointer to open the scoring, and the Warhawks engaged in a back-and-forth battle over the first few minutes. Leading 10-8, ULM embarked on a 7-0 run, featuring a traditional 3-point play by Kierra Crockett, free throws by Maddi Gatte and a jumper by Linda van Schaik to lead 17-8. A-State’s Jireh Washington hit a floater in the lane at the buzzer to bring the Red Wolves back within seven at the end of one quarter, 17-10.
A-State scored the first six points of the second quarter to pull within one at 17-16 on Trinitee Jackson’s layup with 6:47 left in the half. ULM held on to the lead until Jada Stinson hit her second 3-pointer of the game to put the Red Wolves up 23-21 with 3:32 left in the half. The lead changed hands four more times in the quarter, with Brimzy’s jumper at the 1:56 mark giving ULM its final lead of the day at 26-25. Jackson completed a 3-point play to hand the lead to A-State for good, and Washington knocked down two free throws to put the Red Wolves up 30-26 at halftime.
In the third quarter, A-State pushed the lead to eight at 34-26 on Washington’s driving layup with 7:55 left in the quarter. Diamond Brooks brought the Warhawks back within six on a jumper in the lane, but it was as close as ULM would get for the rest of the night. The Red Wolves slowly built the lead out to 15 points in the quarter as Morgan Wallace buried a 3-pointer in transition to put A-State up 49-34 after three quarters.
The two teams traded buckets for much of the fourth quarter, with A-State leading by as much as 18 but never by less than 13.
Whitney Goins posted her second double-figure scoring effort of the weekend with 10 points. Crockett just missed a double-double, finishing with eight points and 14 rebounds.
Washington paced A-State for the second straight game with 17 points. Stinson connected on five 3-pointers for 15 points.
ULM limited A-State to just 33.3% shooting (21-of-63), but the Red Wolves knocked down seven 3-pointers (7-of-19, 36.8%) and made 10-of-18 free throws (55.6%). ULM shot 31.6% from the field (18-of-57) and 18.2% from 3-point range (4-of-22) and made 4-of-6 free throws.
“We’re so appreciative of the fans on Friday night and today,” Brooks Williams said. “What a great atmosphere that our fans are creating. We can’t thank them enough for coming out. Our hope is that they see what we feel: this young team and the youth that’s in our group, continuing to get better and better and better and just how bright our future is.”
ULM heads on the road for the next two conference series, starting Friday at Texas State. Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m. both days in San Marcos. Links to live video, audio and stats are available on the women’s basketball schedule page at ULMWarhawks.com.