Lady Trojans conquer Golden Hurricane
Senior forward Marian Kursh had a career night, helping the The Lady Trojans to defeat Tulsa 52-48 on Friday, Nov. 11, at the Jack Stephens Center.
Kursh had a career-high 20 points to go along with nine rebounds, just missing a double-double.
Head coach Joe Foley said he’s glad that Kursh was able to provide a spark off the bench.
“She knows her role,” he said. “She’s going to have to play that way every game or we’re going to struggle.”
After going in a 9-2 hole early, Kursh checked in with 15:42 to go in the first half and sparked a 9-2 run. The Trojans tied the score at 9 with 13:53 to go in the first half on free throws by Kursh. She went 4-6 from the floor and had five rebounds in the first half. The Lady Trojans had another 13-5 run to cap the first half and led 26-21 going in to the locker room.
Junior forward Janette Merriex hit a 3-pointer to start the second half, putting the Lady Trojans up 29-21. Tulsa went on an 8-4 run to make the score 35-30 with 9:47 to go in the game.
A layup at the 4:30 mark by Karisma Tyson put the Trojans up 44-36. Tyson had a career-high 10 points in her first start and was the only other Trojan in double-figures.
Tulsa was able to shrink the lead to 3 at 47-44 with 2:22 left in the game but UALR came right back with a 3-pointer by Merriex. With .33 left in the game Tulsa had whittled the lead down to two, with UALR up 50-48. Merriex was fouled and sent to the line where she made both free throws, sealing the victory.
Foley said the game went similar to how he thought it would, being so early in the season.
“It’s kind of what I expected, I thought we’d see a few stretches where we’d play pretty well and I figured I’d see some where we didn’t handle it very well.”
Offensive rebounds were a sore spot as the Lady Trojans allowed the Golden Hurricane to control the offensive boards. The Lady Trojans had only eight offensive rebounds while Tulsa had 16. UALR had 36 total rebounds, Tulsa had 45. Kursh said the team knew coming in that Tulsa would give them all they could handle on the offensive boards.
“Our weakness was definitely getting to the boards,” she said. “We knew they were a good offensive-rebounding team, we should’ve come out much harder blocking out.”
Tulsa was able to stay in the game by getting points off turnovers, getting 14 points to UALR’s 5.
Sophomore Taylor Ford said that was simply a lack of focus.
“We need to come out more focused, better passing,” she said.
Kursh watched from the bench for the first five minutes, as Tulsa built a 7-0 lead.
“[I was] hoping my team would get it together,” she said. “We work on this, day after day, we know what they’re going to do.”
With only one senior on the team, Kursh, and one junior, Merriex, Foley said there will be growing pains going forward.
“We got a lot of young kids out there, some of them have never played together and you’re not just going to go out there and look smooth the first month or so, when you got a bunch of young kids out there.”
Foley said the team will need Kursh to have more games like this if the team expects to be successful, but said they know she can’t do it alone.
“Marian pretty well carried us and she’s got to if we’re going to do well early, and then we’ve got to develop the help to help her,” he said.
In the end, a win is a win and Foley said he understands that this team will have ups and downs but they will improve.
“We’re going to have to win ugly here for awhile,” he said.