In the words of the late, great Pat Summerall, there will be no three-peat.
Troy’s bid for a third-straight trip to the NCAA Women’s Tournament was denied by a plan that will be dancing for the third time in program history.
The Academy of Texas-Arlington captured its first-ever Sun Belt Briefing Title after defeating the two-time defending champions 76-61 on Monday afternoon from the Pensacola Bay Heart.
“First off, I want to give credit to Troy, their program and the standard Passenger vehicle (Chanda) Rigby has prepare,” UTA head autobus Shereka Wright said. “They’re an amazingly tough squad, but today, it was our day. It was our day, today.”
UT-Arlington was the second seed in the subclass while Troy was the acme seed.
The Lady Mavs advance in large part due to their defense, holding the fifth-highest scoring team in the country 18 points below its flavour average. The Trojans shot 29 percent from the field. Additionally, Troy committed 20 turnovers, 13 of which came in the first half.
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Improving its record to 20-7 this flavour, UTA established its absorber thanks to a 13-0 surge in the 2d quarter. Following a layup from Shyia Smith, Camryn Hawkins drilled a iii-pointer to put the Lady Mavs up 43-19 with 1 minute, 16 seconds left in the second quarter.
Troy could only trim its deficit down to 11 in the second half.
“I’m heartbroken for the team, (the players) are extremely heartbroken, of course, and we’re all heartbroken,” said Rigby, who formerly coached Pensacola State College from 2005 to 2012. “Nosotros all wanted to represent Troy with another title today. UT-Arlington did an infrequent job. They outplayed united states, especially in the get-go one-half. Everyone that saw the game could see that.”
Starr Jacobs recorded a game-high 28 points for UTA. Scoring 28 in every tournament game as well averaging x rebounds, the inferior frontward and SBC Player of the Twelvemonth was named the tournament MVP.
Hither are 3 takeaways from Monday’s Sun Belt Conference women’southward championship game:
Wright on what it means to trip the light fantastic
Shereka Wright understands the magnitude of this moment.
She’s gotten to experience the NCAA Tournament during two separate stages of her basketball career: starting time, as a legendary thespian at Purdue and and so as assistant coach at Texas Tech and Alabama.
Yet, equally the buzzer sounded and the confetti burst in the air, the gravity of the moment was besides much for Wright to bear, as the 2d-yr head charabanc was overcome with emotion on the floor.
Tears streamed down her face the 2nd her squad’s accomplishment was official.
“It is knowing the sacrifices that you have to brand,” Wright said. “I can speak on it. I’ve been there equally a player, empathize what that means equally player to give, to cede, to piece of work difficult every single moment, and every bit a autobus, to be in that position and lead young women. … Information technology is about understanding that you deserve an opportunity. I am little emotional about that, but just knowing that difficult work has definitely paid off for u.s.a. and we get to enjoy the moment.”
It is the third time the program will caput to the NCAA Tournament, previously making appearances in 2005 and 2007. Now, the Lady Mavs wait to encounter who they will play in the field of 68.
The NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship subclass is set to be released on Sunday. This is the first time Wright will experience Selection Sunday every bit a head motorbus.
“I got a couple of mentors that I tin can kind of ask how they hear virtually this. I’ve kind of known from that standpoint, you lot usually kind of hear ahead of time, only perhaps now, you just await until it pops upward on the screen,” Wright said. “The element of surprise, (the players) deserve this moment of being able to sit and hear their proper name chosen. I want them to take in all of this.”
Jacobs stars in game’s closing act
Opponents in the Sun Chugalug Briefing are likely glad that Jacobs and UTA are headed to the Western Able-bodied Conference adjacent season.
The 6-foot-2 junior from Dallas, Texas has been everything the Lady Mavs hoped after she transferred from Temple Higher concluding leap. She’southward averaged 20.3 points on 55 percentage along with vi.3 rebounds and ii.iii steals this season.
“I kind of know what’s expected of me. I know rebounding and scoring is what I practice. I’chiliad actually kind of shocked at myself that information technology’s been this good, only it’s been working,” she said while laughing.
It was Jacobs that helped keep the Trojans at bay, pouring in 7 direct points early on in the fourth quarter to extend the Mavs’ advantage to 64-49. Later on Troy airtight the margin to 66-55 on a layup from Janiah Sandifer with 4:07 remaining, the MVP put the game on ice with dorsum-to-dorsum buckets.
Her 3-point play with three:05 left moved the cushion to seventy-55. Jacobs scored 17 of her 28 points in the 2nd one-half.
“Merely getting to the handbasket, that’s what I’m good at,” she said. “Finding those open up spots is something I’ve been working on and what I’m good at. I retrieve I could focus more on shooting, but with my teammates’ shooting, that opens a lot up for me considering a lot of team like to effort and double me. And having those kick-outs with my team shooting the style we shot this tournament but opened a lot up for all of united states of america.”
‘Weren’t feature of us’
The Trojans’ chances of a three-peat were ultimately doomed due to a poor first half.
Junior Felmas Koranga scored Troy’south showtime 4 points 72 seconds into the game. However, on the ensuing possession, Lady Mavs senior Katie Ferrell drilled her 2nd 3-pointer of the afternoon. From there, the defending champions were never ahead on the scoreboard again.
Despite switching out of its one-half-court man defense, Troy consistently lost the open histrion behind the arc, allowing UTA to shoot six-for-12 from iii-betoken territory. Half of those makes came from De’Sha Benjamin, who finished with thirteen points.
The Trojans (24-viii) weren’t that much better on the offensive end. They were limited to ii-of-8 shooting from altitude and 9-of-31 shooting overall. But the one item that stuck out to Rigby was the rebounding disparity.
Leading the nation with 51 rebounds per game this season, the Trojans were outrebounded 27-19 during the start xx minutes.
“It simply seemed like we were in slow move when the ball would come off the drinking glass,” Rigby said. “And I call up in that location was some discombobulation because we getting outrebounded so bad, we started doing other things that weren’t characteristic of us.”
Trailing by as much as 24 points and down 43-24 at one-half, Troy went into the locker room know that information technology had been in that position before. Falling into a 24-point hole against Jackson State, the team rallied to pick up a 99-82 win on December. xx.
The coaching staff drew on that experience at halftime, and the team responded. The Trojans trimmed their deficit down to 11 points on several occasions, but the push wasn’t enough.
“My bulletin was ‘don’t look it at similar you’re down by xix, merely try to go it down to 10 in this (third) quarter,'” Rigby said. “Because I felt like if you can go it to 10 going into the 4th quarter, and we did enough to exercise that, I felt like that would put pressure on (UTA). … We tried pause it upwardly in chunks and we tried to give them a fashion to do information technology. They fought dorsum hard, merely the arrears was also big.”
Koranga finished with a team-high 13 points and 11 rebounds. Tina Stephens added 10 points and a Troy-best 14 rebounds while Tiyah Johnson chipped in 11 points. Navarre native Amber Leggett had vi points and 5 rebounds before fouling out in the 4th quarter.
Patrick Bernadeau is a sports reporter for the Pensacola News Journal. He tin can exist reached at (850) 503-3828, on Twitter @PatBernadeau or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.