WarhawkReport - Streak snapped for women's basketball
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Streak snapped for women's basketball

MONROE, La. – A dominating defensive effort and career days from Linda van Schaik and Gracen Williams helped ULM put an end to a pair of long losing streaks, rolling past Little Rock 62-44 Monday afternoon at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

“What a great team win for our program,” ULM head coach Brooks Donald Williams said. “It is long overdue and well deserved. I’m happy for our players and coaches. They’ve been chipping away daily and have stayed the course. It makes the win that much sweeter. It’s a great time to be playing our best baseball.”

The Trojans (13-8 overall, 9-5 Sun Belt Conference) scored just 11 total points over the second and fourth quarters as ULM (3-17, 1-13) surged in front and put the game away in those two quarters.

The victory snapped ULM’s 15-game skid on the season and Little Rock’s 19-game winning streak in the series. It was the Warhawks’ first victory over the Trojans since Jan. 12, 2012.

ULM started slowly. Little Rock picked up early baskets from Teal Battle and Krysten Vornes, leading to an early timeout from Brooks Williams.

After the timeout, the Trojans extended the lead to as much as seven, 10-3, before ULM came to life. Gracen Williams connected on a jumper and then assisted on layups by Diamond Brooks and Morgan Hill to cut the deficit to 10-9.

Little Rock extended the lead back to seven after a jumper from Vornes to go up 16-9 before Van Schaik hit her first 3-pointer, getting ULM within five after a quarter, 17-12.

In the second quarter, ULM went to work defensively. The Warhawks dominated the quarter, outscoring the Trojans 18-5. Van Schaik hit her second trey to open the quarter and Goins made a layup to tie the game at 17. Battle made a free throw to keep Little Rock in front momentarily before ULM unleashed a 13-1 run. Goins made another layup to put ULM on top for good at 19-18.

The Warhawks showed off their 3-point shooting prowess to expand the lead. Van Schaik knocked down her third trey, while Gara Beth Self and Kierra Brimzy followed from deep. Self’s layup moments later put ULM up 30-19. Little Rock’s Mayra Caicedo hit a deep 3-pointer with three seconds left in the half for the Trojans’ only field goal of the quarter and cut the ULM lead to 30-22 at halftime.

“Linda gave us a huge spark off the bench,” Williams said. “Her teammates did a great job of finding her and feeding the hot hand.”

Little Rock opened the third quarter on fire, hitting its first four shots of the quarter and pulling within two at 32-30. With the Warhawk lead still at two midway through the frame, ULM pulled back away with five straight points to lead 40-33. After a 3-pointer from Little Rock’s Ky’lie Scott, Kierra Crockett scored five straight points, including a traditional 3-point play, to give ULM a nine-point lead at 45-36. The Warhawks led 45-38 after the third quarter.

Faced with its second fourth quarter lead in the last three games, ULM answered the challenge Monday and pulled away. The Warhawks used five free throws, two from Van Schaik, two from Gracen Williams and one from Self, to extend the lead to 50-38. Little Rock again struggled from the floor, hitting just 1-of-12 shots in the quarter.

Van Schaik went to work down the stretch, scoring 10 of her career-high 19 points in the final frame. She made the Trojans pay at the free throw line, hitting 6-of-8 from the stripe, all in the final quarter.

Little Rock never got closer than 10 points as ULM earned the 62-44 win.

In addition to Van Schaik’s 19 points and career-high eight rebounds, Self added 12 points, including three 3-pointers, as ULM went 7-of-14 from 3-point range to Little Rock’s 3-for-20 effort from deep.

Gracen Williams, earning her sixth start of the season, matched her career-high with seven points and added a career-best eight assists.

“Gara Beth and Gracen did a great job of running our team today,” Brooks Williams said. “They both showed poise and confidence against a very physical Trojan team.”

A day after losing the rebounding battle by 16, ULM controlled the glass, 39-26. Brooks matched Van Schaik with eight rebounds to pace ULM.

“Diamond had a big two days,” Williams said. “She was productive on the offensive end and did a tremendous job defensively on Vornes today.”

The Warhawks wrap up the regular season with a home series against Texas State at 6 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday at Fant-Ewing Coliseum. ULM will honor senior Whitney Goins during Senior Day on Saturday.