Trying to spin out of its current Sun Belt Conference free-fall will be a challenge for UT Arlington at Arkansas-Little Rock.
Tip-off against the conference leader is slated for 3 p.m. Saturday at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.
The Mavericks (9-8, 3-5 Sun Belt) have dropped five of their past six games in conference play, bookended by two losses to Louisiana-Monroe, the most recent of which came Thursday 56-51 in Monroe.
Freshman center Rebekah Van Dijk broke free on offense and scored 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting. She also grabbed seven rebounds in the loss.
Aside from Van Dijk’s big night, the Mavs’ offense shot an anemic 11-for-47 from the field. Junior guard LaShanda Green, who had picked up some of the offensive slack while opposing defenses concentrated on stopping Van Dijk, managed just two points on 0-of-8 shooting.
Meanwhile, the Trojans (15-2, 8-0) have kept their Sun Belt record unblemished with the conference’s stingiest team defense, allowing fewer than 51 points per contest. While the Mavs have been similarly salty on defense, allowing 53.3 points per game, the question for UTA will be whether it can run and score with UALR.
Arkansas-Little Rock features a trio of scorers headed up by senior guard Taylor Gault, who is fourth (15.2) in the Sun Belt in points per game. The Trojans offense is facilitated by the conference’s leader in assists as well, in senior Ka’Nesheia Cobbins (4.9 per game).
UTA women at Arkansas-Little Rock
3 p.m. Saturday, Jack Stephens Center, Little Rock
Records: UTA 9-8. 3-5 Sun Belt; UALR 15-2, 8-0