Mavericks score historic victory on Monroe's floor
MONROE, La. -- The women's basketball program at Texas-Arlington reached new heights Saturday with the team's first NCAA tournament bid.
Rola Ogunoye had 22 points to lead the Mavericks past Louisiana-Monroe 60-54 to win the Southland Conference title and an automatic berth to the tourney.
"It is fun to set a goal and have them accomplish it. It is a thrill to be the first team to go," said UTA coach Donna Capps.
Terra Wallace, the tournament's MVP, scored 14 points, grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds and had five assists for the Mavericks (21-9). Ashley Bobb added 12 points and eight assists.
Ogunoye hit her first four shots in the opening five minutes of the first half to give the Mavs a 13-8 lead with 14:43 to play. But she picked up her second personal foul with 14:24 left in the first and sat out the rest of the half.
"She wanted to do so much for the team she just kind of lost it for a minute and made a bad decision. That is uncharacteristic of her,'' Capps said. ``We were able to stay close in the first half without her, and that was big for us."
Louisiana-Monroe (22-8) led 31-30 at the halftime. In the second half, the Mavs went on a 13-0 run to take a 50-40 lead after five straight points from Ogunoye with 10:09 to play. ULM missed six straight shots during a 6:24 scoreless spell, but cut the lead to 54-49 after Gerline Guillaume's basket.
After Wallace made two free throws, Guillaume hit a 3-pointer to make it 56-52 with 1:23 left.
"We had to refocus at that point and they did a good job of coming together," Capps said.
The Mavs made 4-of-5 free throws in the final 47 seconds to seal the win.
UTA will learn who it will play in the NCAA tournament when pairings are drawn on Sunday.
Nina Randle had 13 points and five rebounds for Louisiana-Monroe, which had its 13-game winning streak snapped.
Texas-Arlington outrebounded the Lady Indians 42-29, including 18-9 on the offensive boards.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press