For the second consecutive season, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock women’s basketball won the Sun Belt Conference Regular-Season Championship outright with a 61-35 victory against Appalachian State on Saturday afternoon at the Jack Stephens Center.
The victory marked Little Rock’s fifth regular-season title and was the third in the past four years. Little Rock now has a combined 14 regular season, division and tournament titles — all in head coach Joe Foley‘s tenure (2003-present).
The Trojans (18-9, 15-1 Sun Belt) were led by senior Monique Townson in her final home game as she had a team-high 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Graduate Keanna Keys also played her final home game at the Jack and finished with seven points, three rebounds, and two steals. Freshman Tori Lasker tallied 10 points to go along with three rebounds and three assists. Little Rock ended the game shooting 27-for-46 from the field (42.2 percent), 4-for-10 from three and 3-for-7 (42.9 percent) from the foul line.
The Mountaineers (7-21, 5-12 Sun Belt) had just one player in double figures as LaPresha Stanley finished the game with 10 points and six assists. Bayley Plummer had a game-high 11 rebounds in addition to seven points. App State was 13-for-46 (28.3%) from the field, 0-for-13 from three and 9-for-17 (52.9 percent) from the foul line.
The Trojans went into the fourth quarter with an insurmountable 30-point lead. Up 54-29, Townson and Keys stepped off the Jack Stephens Center floor for the final time with 5:33 left to play. Raeyana DeGray led the Trojans with five points and three rebounds in the final 10 minutes of action. All 12 of Little Rock’s fourth-quarter points came off the bench.
Little Rock held App State to just 15.4 percent (2-for-13) in the third quarter as it outscored the Mountaineers 13-6. Townson was the period’s leading scorer with four points and two assists. Up 38-17, Little Rock scored nine consecutive points to take its largest lead of the game at 47-17. Eight of Little Rock’s 13 points came off App State turnovers.
The Trojans ended the first half with a 36-13 lead over the Mountaineers after outscoring App State 14-7 in the second quarter. Little Rock was 7-for-16 (43.8 percent) for the period while App State was 3-for-10. Up 30-13 with 3:41 left in the quarter, the Trojans ended the half on a six-point run thanks to jumpers from Lasker,Yanina Inkina and Townson.
Little Rock was scorching in the first quarter as it shot 10-for-17 (58.8 percent) while ending the period with a 22-6 lead. The Trojans held the Mountaineers to just 21.4 percent (3-for-14) and forced six App State turnovers. Little Rock began the game on a 9-0 run before App State finally responded. After the Mountaineers’ bucket, the Trojans finished the quarter on a 13-4 run. Lasker led the quarter with eight points after going 3-for-5 from the field with two threes.
Ronjanae DeGray ended the game with eight points and six rebounds while Inkina finished the game with eight points, two rebounds and two assists. Terrion Moore came away with six points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. Raeyana DeGray ended up with five points and six boards, and Kyra Collier tallied four points, three rebounds and two steals. Kira Shepard had three points off a three-point shot.
In their time with the Trojans, Keys and Townson have helped the Trojans to a 46-1 record in home conference games, a 78-14 record in Sun Belt games, and an overall record of 109-48 since 2013.
With its final home game at the Jack in the books, Little Rock will now travel to ULM for its next-to-last regular-season contest on Thursday at 5 p.m.