College Sports

UTA women clinch Sun Belt No. 5 seed with win

Freshman Cierra Johnson scored a career-high 20 points to lead the UT Arlington women’s basketball team to a 61-53 win over Appalachian State on Saturday.

The win helped the Mavericks (17-12, 11-9) reach the most wins since 2008-09 and clinch the fifth seed in the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Championship.

Johnson and fellow freshman Rebekah Van Dijk were the only Mavericks to score in double figures. Van Dijk scored 11 points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.

Senior guard Chaun Williams came up big on defense, recording a career-high seven steals. UTA forced 24 turnovers that led to 26 points.

After opening the game with a 3-pointer from LaShanda Green, UTA went cold offensively and went several minutes without a basket.

UTA turned to defense until the offense got started and the Mavericks manufactured an 11-0 run midway through the first half to build a 23-16 lead. They maintained that margin and led 28-22 at halftime.

In the second half, UTA’s defense continued to bother Appalachian State (14-15, 9-11) as the Mavericks’ lead grew to as much as 12. The Mountaineers would never get closer than four.