In this early stretch of Sun Belt Conference play, UT Arlington needs a win.
The Mavericks (7-9, 2-4 Sun Belt) have dropped three straight entering Saturday’s game against Arkansas Little Rock (5-11, 3-4) at College Park Center.
UALR, the defending Sun Belt champion, is trying to avoid its own three-game losing streak and has taken a step back from a year ago after graduating a talented senior class that included Taylor Gault, one of the Sun Belt’s best 3-point shooters.
Both teams are itching for a win, and they’ll look to get it in a similar fashion — by hanging their hats on their defenses.
“They will be really tough and they will be able to guard us,” UTA coach Krista Gerlich said of the Trojans after Thursday’s 78-71 loss to conference leader Arkansas State. “But what I am concerned about is the turnaround. We have a lot of key people that have had to play a lot of minutes, and we have to be able to guard their motion offense.”
The Mavs weathered Arkansas State’s athleticism on the perimeter to hang around against the Red Wolves despite sophomore guard Cierra Johnson getting into early foul trouble and being held to seven points.
Amara Wainwright’s shooting touch in big moments kept the Mavs close. The senior made six 3-pointers in scoring 20 points.
If Wainwright, center Rebekah VanDijk (who had 20 points and seven rebounds in the loss) and Johnson can stay out of foul trouble, the UTA offensive production stands a better chance of complementing what has been one of the best defenses in the conference in the past two seasons.
Arkansas Little Rock at UTA women
5 p.m. Saturday