Trojans Advance to Sun Belt Semifinals with 66-34 Win over Appalachian State

Monique Townson

For the 11th consecutive season, top-seeded Little Rock women’s basketball won its quarterfinals game at the Sun Belt Conference Championship as it defeated No. 9 Appalachian State 66-34 on Thursday afternoon at Lakefront Arena. 

The Trojans (21-9) were led by senior Monique Townson who put up a game-high 14 points with four steals, four assists, and a team-leading seven rebounds. Yanina Inkina had 12 with two rebounds, and Tori Lasker tallied 11 points with four assists, three rebounds, and two steals. Ronjanae DeGray was the fourth Trojan in double figures as she ended the game with 10 points, four rebounds, and four steals. Little Rock shot 45.1 percent (23-for-51) from the field, 54.5 percent (6-for-11) from three and 70 percent (14-for-20) from the charity stripe.

The Mountaineers (8-23) tallied just 34 points for the game — its fewest of the season. They also tied Little Rock’s opponent low for points scored this season. App State had no players in double figures as LaPresha Stanley led the Mountaineers with nine points. App State shot just 26.7 percent (12-for-45) from the field, 13.3 percent (2-for-15) from three and 50 percent (8-for-16) from the foul line.

Little Rock took its largest lead of the game in the fourth quarter at 37 points with 8:18 left in the game. Inkina drained her sixth field goal of the game to put the Trojans up 61-24. With 3:44 left and the lead well in hand, Little Rock went to its bench and wrapped up the victory.

The Trojans had their best offensive quarter of the season in the third period as they outscored the Mountaineers 30-13. Townson and Lasker each tallied nine points for the quarter. Lasker was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc in the first three minutes of the second half while Townson was 3-for-3 from the field with one three-pointer and two free throws. Little Rock put together runs of eight and 11 points during the period. The Trojans were 10-for-15 (66.7 percent) from the field in the quarter while the Mountaineers were 5-for-15 (33.3 percent).

The Trojans ended the first half by allowing its fewest first-half points this season as they held the Mountaineers to 11. Little Rock went to the break with a 15-point lead over App State. The Trojans shot 38.5 percent (5-for-13) in the second quarter while holding the Mountaineers to 15.4 percent (5-for-13). After beginning the period on a 7-4 run, Little Rock went on a 7-0 run to take its largest lead of the half at 26-9.

Little Rock had a 12-5 lead at the end of the first quarter after shooting 30.8 percent (4-for-13). Inkina led the quarter with six points as she went 3-for-5 from the field. The Trojans tallied four steals for the quarter while forcing seven Mountaineer turnovers. Little Rock held App State to 22.2 percent (2-for-9) from the field.

Keanna Keys finished the game with nine points and six rebounds while Terrion Moore tallied a career-high eight assists with three rebounds and two points. Raeyana DeGray had five points and two assists, and Kira Shepard put up three points.

The Trojans finished the game with a season-high 12 steals while forcing 20 Mountaineer turnovers.

Little Rock will have two days to prep for its semifinals matchup on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Trojans will face either No. 4 Troy or No. 5 South Alabama on ESPN3.

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