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The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Defense, takeaways spell victory for team

Jacobe Boston

After hosting its first match inside Fant-Ewing Coliseum, ULM women’s basketball already has a reason to celebrate. Following a nail-biting 81-76 loss to Arkansas, the Warhawks (1-1; 0-0 SBC) won the first round of the Mid-Atlantic Conference-Sun Belt Conference Challenge against Miami, Ohio with a score of 78-62.

Head coach Missy Bilderback said the team’s game plan was to not pause at all and apply constant pressure.

“Our pregame was about all gas, no brakes and not letting up,” Bilderback said. “Our goal was to come in here and play super hard for four quarters, be a great teammate for four quarters and see what happens.”

The ULM offense began quickly, leading 13-6 within four minutes. When the first quarter ended, the score was 25-17 in favor of the Warhawks. Of those 25 points, senior guard Daisha Bradford and sixth-year guard Lauren Gross combined for 16 points. 

Despite the momentum, the ULM offense stalled and could only produce a fraction of the previous quarter’s score. 14 points in the paint in the first quarter versus a mere 6 in the second allowed the Red Hawks (0-2; 0-0 MAC) to close the gap. Gross mentioned what changes she and her team discussed during halftime to wake back up.

“We came out super hot the first quarter. That happened a little bit to us in the second quarter,” Gross said. “We took a lot of quick shots because we were hot. We sat in the locker room and understood that we needed to make smart plays. And that it starts on defense.”

The defense shone through in the third quarter and held Miami to nine points. Missed shots and turnovers by the Redhawks allowed the Warhawks to capitalize off the extra possessions and go on multiple scoring runs. The quarter ended with ULM ahead 58-39.

“We played one heck of a game at Arkansas, and I think we did a lot of good things,” Gross said. “We played really good defense, and I think that translated here.”

The Warhawks managed to maintain their lead from the third quarter all the way to the final buzzer. 

Thanks to additional turnovers and an offense firing on all cylinders once more, the gap between the two was never a cause for concern for the Warhawks.

Late scores by the Redhawks were not enough to close the distance in time, and the Warhawks won 78-62.

The Warhawks travel to Lake Charles Thursday to face three teams this weekend: the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Mississippi Valley State University and McNeese State University.

As for the second round of the MAC-SBC Challenge, the match will take place on Feb. 10, 2024, and will be decided based on real-time NET rankings.

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