After having a chance to win in regulation, UT Arlington dropped a heartbreaking 80-77 loss in overtime Saturday to Sun Belt Conference-leading Arkansas State at College Park Center.
After trailing by as much as 15 in the first half, the Mavericks lit up the nets on a 20-7 run to open the second half. They responded with another 17-4 run after Arkansas State took a 58-52 lead with just under eight minutes to play in regulation.
Chaun Williams’ finish in transition with 2:45 left in regulation capped the late run and put the Mavs (8-6, 2-3 Sun Belt) ahead 69-62.
But the Red Wolves (10-5, 5-0) scored the final seven points in regulation, and got hot from the 3-point line in overtime.
“I don’t think I got us in the right sets in the last few minutes,” Mavs coach Krista Gerlich said. “But we missed a block out on the free throw line that was huge, we fouled after we missed a shot with the lead, so we’ve got to manage the clock a little bit better late in the game.”
Arkansas State’s 11-2 run fueled by guard Aundrea Gamble late in the first half put UTA in a 42-29 hole entering the second half. The junior and McKinney North graduate scored 22 of her game-high 33 points in the first half and pulled down 10 rebounds in the win.
“If I wasn’t on the opposing bench I would really like watching [Gamble] play,” Gerlich said. “She’s got everything to her game: the midrange jumper, the 3-pointer, she can get to the basket; she’s kind of slippery.”
But the Mavs made a concerted effort to get to the basket in regulation’s final 12 minutes. Senior guard Tahlia Pope scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half and overtime, largely by getting to the basket and converting through traffic or on the free-throw line.
Pope’s three-point play on a put-back of her own miss gave the Mavericks their first lead of the game, 59-58 with 5:44 left in regulation.
Freshman center Rebekah Van Dijk led UTA with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting and had 14 rebounds and three blocked shots. The Mavs got good production from their backcourt as well. Williams added 14 points and point guard LaShanda Green chipped in 13.
“It hurts because we know we could have ended it in regulation,” Pope said. “We’ve just got to fight back and come back harder because we know we can play with anybody. We don’t want to forget what this moment feels like so we’ll finish next time.”