Win streak continues

Published 11:16 pm Saturday, January 10, 2009

Troy used a big first half to run away from Louisiana-Lafayette 69-47 in Sun Belt Conference play Saturday night at Trojan Arena, recording their fifth consecutive victory.

“Winning streaks are a funny thing,” Troy coach Michael Murphy said. “Some of it is a by-product of schedule, some of it is a team playing well. I think that has helped us a little bit, good karma never hurts. We are playing well right now and we are playing with a great deal of confidence. Only one thing teaches how to win and that is winning.

“Losing games close doesn’t, and the girls have learned some valuable lessons this year. We have lost some games close and we have just gotten over the hump a little bit. Our seniors have demonstrated great leadership. It is all about we do in the present, not in the past and that is our focus right now.”

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Kylie Morrissy Troy (8-7, 3-2 Sun Belt) with 25 points and nine rebounds. She connected on 9-of-14 shots from the floor, and missed her career-high by a single point (26 against Fordham last season). Donette McNair chipped in 12 points and five rebounds in just 15 minutes of action on the night.

“I thought it was a terrific win,” Murphy said. “I thought we shot the ball exceptionally well in the first half, and that was a bi-product of good ball movement and terrific shot selection. We took advantage of those opportunities by putting the ball in the basket. That is how you run good offense is you share the ball, take good shots and shoot the ball with some discipline and some courage – that is what we did in the first half. I was very encouraged by that.”

All 13 of the Trojans saw action Saturday night, with 11 of those players recording points. Of those 13 players, freshman Kirsten Smith narrowly missed a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds off the bench – the nine rebounds tying a career-high for Smith.

The margin of victory by the Trojans gave Murphy a chance to play some of his younger players in the contest. The Trojans received 64 minutes of playing time from their freshman, the future of the Trojan women’s basketball program.

The first half spoke volumes on the outcome of Saturday night’s victory. The Trojans set season-highs in field goal percentage (69 percent), points allowed (17) and number of assists in a half (14).

Not to mention that Morrissy was perfect from the floor (7-of-7), from beyond the arc (3-of-3) and from the free throw line (2-of-2) for 19 first half points. McNair was also perfect from the floor (5-of-5) en route to 10 points in the opening half.

The Trojans jumped ahead early in the contest, scoring the game’s first two points followed by a Louisiana-Lafayette basket by D’Mya Clay tied the score at 2-all with 18:45 remaining in the first half. That was as close as the Ragin’ Cajuns would get as the Trojans reeled off a 19-4 run over the next 6:10 to take an insurmountable 21-6 advantage.

After Louisiana-Lafayette (3-13, 0-5 Sun Belt) pulled to within 11 at 21-10 with 9:51 remaining in the half, Troy went on another run; this of 19-4 variety to pull out to a 40-14 advantage with just 1:53 remaining in the opening half.

The second half was much the same story as the Trojans kept the lead around 30 points for the entire half until Louisiana-Lafayette 28 at 64-36 with 4:44 remaining in the contest.

The Trojans shot 49.1 (27-of-55) percent from the floor in the game, 27.8 (5-of-18) percent from beyond the arc and 58.8 (10-of-17) percent from the charity stripe. They also held Louisiana-Lafayette to just 29.4 (15-of-51) percent from the floor and 18.8 (3-of-16) percent from beyond the arc.

Troy outrebounded Louisiana-Lafayette 46-26 for the game, their largest margin on the boards this season. They also forced 15 turnovers with 10 steals, and recorded 16 total assists on the night. Senior Larelle Roper recorded six assists on the night, moving her past Kira Mcwaine for fifth on the Troy all-time list with 368 assists.

The Trojans return to action Wednesday night on the road at in-state and conference rival South Alabama.

“South Alabama is an in-state rival,” Murphy said. “We have played them close and competitive. We know what they are going to do and how they are going to do it, we just have to be prepared to stop them. We haven’t been on the road in a while, the last 10 days, and that is something we are going to have to adjust to and be ready to play a quality opponent.”

Tip is set for 7:05 pm at the Mitchell Center, on the campus of South Alabama.