UTA women hope to show finishing power in Sun Belt opener

01/01/2014 9:01 PM

01/01/2014 11:51 PM

The UT Arlington women’s basketball team would love to be heading into conference play riding the momentum of their first victory of the season.

However, that win, 75-64 over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 21, came almost two weeks ago. Coach Krista Gerlich has treated the nonconference schedule as separate from Sun Belt play, which begins Thursday at College Park Center against Arkansas State (6-6).

“We’ve always looked at the nonconference schedule as a sort of preparation for what’s going to be a battle for Sun Belt,” Gerlich said after the win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

The Mavericks (1-10) got over the hump in their final nonconference game by finishing in the second half. Too many times in the previous 10 games, the Mavs played well before faltering down the stretch.

Arkansas State guard Aundrea Gamble leads the Red Wolves in scoring at 18.6 points per game and is also shooting 45 percent from 3-point range.

Senior forward Brianna Walker, who has been in and out of Gerlich’s starting lineup all season, leads the Mavs at 15.6 points and eight rebounds per game.

But turnovers could be what the Mavs would like to improve upon most. UTA has turned the ball over 263 times while forcing only 173.

Arkansas State leads the all-time series 8-5.

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