FORT SMITH –  UAFS shot a sizzling 52 percent from the field in the second half on Thursday night as the Lady Lions turned a tie game at halftime into a 72-60 win against the St. Edward’s Hilltoppers at the Convocation and Recreation Center in Austin, Texas.
The Lady Lions (11-6, 4-1) won their fifth game in a row and took over sole possession of second place in the Heartland Conference. UAFS trails nationally-ranked Lubbock Christian (15-0, 4-0) by only one game.
It was the only game of the week for the Lady Lions, who are idle on Saturday.
St. Edward’s (8-8, 2-2) led 17-14 after the first quarter, but UAFS rallied to tie the game at halftime at 29-29. UAFS made 15 of its 29 shots from the field in the second half – it was 3-of-9 shooting from 3-point range – and 10 of its 14 free-throws in that span to pull away for good.
UAFS shot 50 percent from the field for the game (26 of 52) – it was 4-of-13 shooting from 3-point range – and shot 80 percent from the free-throw line (16 of 20).
Sophomore guard Micayla Haynes tied a career-high scoring mark with 24 points – she was perfect (8 of 8) at the free-throw line – and made two of the Lady Lions’ four treys. Senior forward Tayla Taylor, who again was Conference Player of the Week, added 19 points.
St. Edward’s, though, out-rebounded UAFS by four rebounds (31-27). Junior forward Sarah Elkins had a team-high eight rebounds for the Lady Lions, while Taylor’s streak of double-doubles ended with her grabbing five rebounds.
UAFS held St. Edward’s to 46-percent shooting from the field (25 of 54) – the Hilltoppers were 5-of-16 shooting from 3-point range – and the Hilltoppers shot 83 percent from the free-throw line (5 of 6).
The Lady Lions forced 22 turnovers, too, that led to 25 points. Haynes and junior guard Mariah Green each had four steals. Elkins and sophomore forward Tamera Gulley each had two of the Lady Lions’ five blocked shots.
Forward Isabel Hernandez had a team-high 22 points for the Hilltoppers, while guard Bailey Hill added 11. Forward Abby Hopper led St. Edward’s with 10 rebounds.
UAFS              14        15        20        23                  72
St. Edward’s   17        12        14        17                  60
UAFS (11-6, 4-1): Haynes 24, Taylor 19, Williams 8, D. Brown 6, Green 5, A. Brown 4, Elkins 4, Gulley 2
St. Edward’s (8-8, 2-2): Hernandez 22, Hill 11, Whyte 9, Panfill 6, Cunningham 4, Joly 4, Hopper 2, Sutton 2


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