In their most prolific offensive performance of the season, the Denver Pioneers achieved their first-ever WAC victory with a 90-52 win over the UT Arlington Mavericks Monday at Magness Arena. For the second consecutive game, the Pioneers had five players scoring in double figures. The win improved DU's record to 1-1 in the WAC, 6-7 overall, while UT Arlington fell to 1-1 in the WAC, 3-9 overall.
Junior guard Quincey Noonan, whose play has been stellar since she recovered from an early-season Achilles tendon injury, led the Pioneers in scoring with 16 points. Junior forward Maiya Michel earned her second consecutive double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds -- a stat line identical to what she earned Saturday in DU's 82-77 double-overtime loss to the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters.
The Mavericks got off to a respectable start, getting off to a quick 4-0 lead and leading 13-10 after a three-point jumper by sophomore guard Eboni Watkins with 15:39 remaining in the first half. That shot turned out to be UT Arlington's only successful three-pointer of the game. The Pioneers responded with a 9-0 run on its way to a 48-32 halftime lead and the rout was on. The Mavericks went 1-for-11 (9.1 percent) from the three-point line, while the Pioneers went 10-for-22 (45.5 percent), including a team-leading four three-pointers by sophomore Morgan Van Riper-Rose, who finished with 14 points.
UT Arlington experienced a great deal of difficulty defending Denver off of screens, and this proved to be fatal on a night when the Pioneers were shooting particularly well. With so many open looks at the basket, the Pioneers shot a season-high 49.2 percent (32-for-65) from the field. Denver also out-rebounded UT Arlington 46-33. The Mavericks did not have a single player score in double figures, as junior guard Laila Suleiman led the team in scoring with nine points.
Monday's game was only the second time in school history that Denver had played UT Arlington in women's basketball. The first meeting was a 49-43 Mavericks victory on Dec. 19, 1998 in San Antonio at the UTSA Classic. However, the Mavericks did play in Denver at Magness Arena Dec. 20-21, 2003 at the Wells Fargo Classic, but they didn't get the opportunity to face the Pioneers. The Mavericks lost to the Kansas Jayhawks 71-52 in a semifinal game before beating the Lafayette Leopards 81-59 in the consolation game. In that tournament, the Pioneers beat Lafayette 76-69 in overtime in the semifinals before beating Kansas 69-63 in the championship game.
Next, the Pioneers embark on a two-game road trip to Texas, facing the Texas State Bobcats Thursday, Jan.3 and the UT San Antonio Roadrunners Saturday, Jan. 5.