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GS Ladies no match for UT Arlington

    ARLINGTON, Texas - The UT Arlington women's basketball team avenged an earlier season Sun Belt Conference loss to Georgia Southern, picking up a 70-49 victory on Kids Day at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.

The Mavericks (17-10, 11-5 SBC) also picked up their sixth win in a row, while the Eagles (5-21, 2-13 SBC) fell for the third straight time. Georgia Southern completes its Texas swing on Saturday, taking on Texas State at 4 p.m. in San Marcos, Texas, in Sun Belt Conference action.

Preseason Sun Belt Player of the Year Rebekah VanDijk scored nine of the first 11 points for the Mavericks as UTA built an 11-4 lead in the first four minutes of the contest. UTA kept that lead to the end of the first quarter, 21-13, and pushed the lead to double digits heading into halftime up 36-24.

The Eagles battled back to cut the lead to 11, 42-31, on an Alexis Foulks jumper with 6:50 left in the third quarter and GS forced two straight turnovers by the Mavericks, but couldn't convert on the other end. UTA got a layup by Evans that made the score 44-31 with 5:42 left and the Eagles would get no closer the rest of the way.

The Mavericks outrebounded the Eagles by a 44-24 margin, including an 18-9 edge on the offensive glass, which resulted in a 20-1 advantage in second-chance points.

"It's been a real tough matchup for us," Georgia Southern Head Coach Kip Drown said. "I thought we did a better job this time than the last [against VanDijk]. When you take VanDijk and [Kelsey] Johnson, those two had 27 points, we had four at the 5 spot, so we got outscored by 23 from that spot today.

"It's really tough with her," Drown said of VanDijk. "They do a great job of finding her, and we have trouble contesting her. In the end, she was the difference in the basketball game."

Georgia Southern was led by Amira Atwater's 11 points and six assists on the day, while UT Arlington got 22 points and eight rebounds from Van Dijk in just 22 minutes of action. Daiane Machado added a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Evans chipped in 10 points.

As a team, the Eagles shot 34.6 percent from the field (18-of-52), while UT Arlington shot 46.6 percent from the field (27-of-58). Georgia Southern hit 8-of-21 three-pointers (38.1 percent) and went 5-of-6 from the free throw line (83.3 percent), while UTA hit 5-of-13 three-pointers (38.5 percent) and knocked down 11-of-15 free throws (73.3 percent).

"I thought we played hard on the defensive end after the first 3-4 minutes," Drown said. "It just put us in a hole right at the start. Two years ago, it was my first weekend in Sun Belt play when we came here to Arlington and we got hammered. We told our kids that until we compete at this level, it didn't matter what we did. I can look our kids in the eye today and tell them that they competed."