Women's Basketball Eyes Third Straight Conference Win; Faces Denver Saturday
The ULM women's basketball team (9-17, 7-6) puts its two-game Sun Belt Conference winning streak on the line against Denver (17-11, 9-5) Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. inside the Magness Arena.
MAKES WARHAWK HISTORY
Senior Larrie Williams became the 16th player in program history to score 1,000 points in her ULM career after connecting on a two-point basket with 6:14 remaining in the first half against South Alabama Feb. 11. The 6-2 center from Little Rock, Ark. is the first Warhawk since LaJeanna Howard (2004-08) to surpass the 1,000-point plateau, and the fifth player to reach the millennium mark playing for head coach Mona Martin. Williams is tied with Michelle Biley (2002-06) for 15th place on the all-time scoring list with 1,026 points.
PLACE PINK AND SENIOR DAY FEB. 23
ULM will host its annual Pack the Place Pink game to promote breast cancer awareness on Feb. 23 when Middle Tennessee travels to Fant-Ewing Coliseum at 5:30 p.m. The Warhawks will also honor seniors Elizabeth Torres, Larrie Williams and Marion Zollicoffer in their final home game at ULM.
Denver enters Saturday's contest with a 17-11 record and currently sits at 9-5 in the Sun Belt Conference West Division. The Pioneers dismantled UL-Lafayette 71-47 on Feb. 15 in their last game played. Kaetlyn Murdoch leads Denver with a 16.4 points per game average and has chipped in 43 blocked shots. Emiko Smith leads the SBC with 185 assists, a 6.6 per game average. Head coach Erik Johnson is 70-51 in his fourth season at Denver.
After Desiree Nelson tied the ballgame with 2.0 seconds left in regulation to send the game to overtime, ULM clawed its way to a 70-67 win over North Texas Wednesday night at the Super Pit.
Sophomore Alexar Tugler led all scorers with a career-high 19 points and added nine rebounds. Senior Larrie Williams finished with 15 points, tying Michelle Biley (2002-06) for 15th-place on the school's all-time scoring list.
The contest saw an astounding 11 lead changes and 11 ties, the final change swinging in the Warhawks' favor. ULM forced 23 Mean Green miscues, converting 25 points off turnovers.
Senior Elizabeth Torres became the 23rd player in program history to surpass the 900-point career scoring mark. The 5-6 guard now has 901 points as a Warhawk.
MINUTES IS NOT ENOUGH
ULM went to overtime for just the second time this season at North Texas. The Warhawks lost a heartbreaking 76-70 decision to UMKC during the World Vision Basketball Invitational at Texas Tech Nov. 26.
THE WIRE WITH NORTH TEXAS
Both games against North Texas this season were decided in the final 30 seconds of regulation or overtime. Brittney Hudson's layup at the buzzer stunned ULM inside Fant-Ewing Coliseum Jan. 15, and sophomore Alexar Tugler nailed two crucial jumpers in extra time at the Super Pit with less than a minute to play.
PERFORMANCE FROM ALEXAR
Alexar Tugler enjoyed what was arguably her most complete game of the season at North Texas, draining a career-high 19 points and finishing just one rebound (9) from equally a career-best. The 5-10 guard blocked a shot and raced the length of the court to put home a layup at the start of the second half, then logged the winning points of the game on a deep 2-point field goal in overtime.
HITS 900 AS A WARHAWK
Senior Elizabeth Torres shined in the second half at North Texas, scoring 10 of her 12 points to pass Carla Vickers (1980-84) as the 23rd leading scorer in program history. Torres is on pace to appear in the most games of any player to suit up for the Warhawks, needing just three more games played to pass Jesse Carrier (119, 2006-10).
OFFENSE COME TO YOU
ULM's 23 forced turnovers at North Texas marked the ninth time this season Warhawk opponents have turned the ball over 20 or more times. The Warhawks turned the Mean Green's mistakes into 25 points.
STAND TALL IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY
With seniors Marion Zollicoffer, Elizabeth Torres and Larrie Williams, along with sophomore Ashleigh Simmons, all in foul trouble against North Texas, four Warhawk freshmen were asked to play key roles in the second half and overtime periods. Guard Christina Gray hit a game-tying free throw in the extra frame, and also pulled down a key rebound and forced a steal. Center Sharnice Brooks went 2-for-2 from the field in six minutes of action to spark the ULM cause at the start of half number two.
STANDINGS ARE SHAPING UP
The win at North Texas helped solidify conference tournament seeding leverage for ULM with three games remaining in the regular season. The Warhawks are now 7-6 in Sun Belt Conference play and hold sole possession of third place in the West Division. ULM closes its season against West number two Denver and East number one Middle Tennessee (Feb. 23) before traveling to UL-Lafayette (6th in the West) on Feb. 25 for the regular season finale.
TURNAROUND SPURRING ULM FORWARD
ULM's 2-11 non-conference mark has been erased thanks to the team's steady 7-6 treading in Sun Belt Conference games. The Warhawks are outscoring opponents 757-726 in SBC play, while shooting a better percentage from the field (.360-.348) and free-throw line (.681-.662).
STRETCH FOR THE SENIORS
Following Saturday's game, Feb. 23 will be the final home contest for seniors Elizabeth Torres, Larrie Williams and Marion Zollicoffer against Middle Tennessee. With no juniors on this season's squad, the Warhawks are not expected to have a single senior on the roster in 2012-13.
Sophomore Ashleigh Simmons quietly scored 10 points and added four rebounds and two steals in the win at North Texas. The 6-1 forward has averaged 5.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game through ULM's 13 conference matchups.
Denver owns a 10-3 series advantage all-time against ULM, winning five of six meetings between the schools in Denver. The Pioneers downed the Warhawks 52-49 Jan. 19 inside Fant-Ewing Coliseum after withstanding a nine-point second half swing in ULM's favor. Freshman Taylor Maricle scored a career-high 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Senior Elizabeth Torres chipped in 10 points and two steals, while fellow senior Larrie Williams added nine points and nine rebounds.
Larrie Williams and Elizabeth Torres both began the season within reach of scoring 1,000 points in their respective careers. Williams reached the 1,000-point mark against South Alabama Feb. 11 and now has 1,026 points as a Warhawk, while Torres has scored 901 points at ULM. Torres became the fifth player in program history to register 400 career assists at FIU (Jan. 7), and is just four assists from moving into second place all-time in career helpers behind All-American guard and longtime ULM associate head coach E.J. Ok.
ULM hosts Middle Tennessee at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 23. It will be the annual Pack the Place Pink night in support of breast cancer awareness. The Warhawks will also honor departing seniors Elizabeth Torres, Larrie Williams and Marion Zollicoffer during halftime of the 7:30 p.m. men's game for their contributions to ULM basketball.