UALR women win 12th consecutive game, remain perfect in Sun Belt

   The UALR women put on a defensive clinic on Wednesday, shutting down Denver in a 46-39 victory at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.
   UALR held Denver to 27 percent shooting and the Trojans needed every bit of it, struggling on the offensive end throughout. UALR shot just 26 percent but attempted 17 more field goals in the game. That came about because Denver had 10 more turnovers and UALR had eight more offensive rebounds.
   The victory was the 12th consecutive for UALR and 21st consecutive at the Stephens Center. UALR has also won 26 consecutive Sun Belt Conference games and 14 consecutive games played in February. And it was the 601st career victory for Coach Joe Foley.
   If all that wasn’t enough, it gave UALR a 3 ½ game lead in the Sun Belt Conference’s West Division.
   Chastity Reed led UALR with 13 points, but she fouled out late. Marian Kursh proved to be the difference with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Eight of those 14 rebounds came on the offensive end. Janette Merriex also played a strong game with 9 points and 7 rebounds, 6 of which came on the offensive end.
   UALR made just 1 of its first 16 field goal attempts but Denver was never able to build much of a first-half lead thanks to the Trojans’ defense. The Lady Pioneers led 22-21 at halftime.
   Denver built a 36-32 lead with 8:20 left on a three-pointer by Quincey Noonan, but UALR locked down the game from there. Just after Reed picked up her fourth foul and had to sit down, Kursh hit back to back shots -- a spinner and a one-handed jumper -- to tie the game 36-36.
   Another Kursh layup after a pass from Merriex gave UALR a 38-36 lead. UALR got defensive stop after stop down the stretch until Shanika Butler’s layup with 1:38 left made it 43-36. Denver got as close as 43-39 in the final minute, but the Trojans put the game away at the free throw line.
   UALR has beaten Denver eight consecutive times.