JONESBORO, Ark. (11-24-2009) - Arkansas State (2-4) saw its 29-26 halftime lead slip away as the Lady Techsters of Louisiana Tech (3-0) handed the Red Wolves a 71-59 defeat Monday night at the ASU Convocation Center.
Sparked by a strong defensive effort and seven points each from junior forwards Shay Scott and Breaunna Ellison, and sophomore guard Shania Hurst in the first half, Arkansas State forced 14 first-half turnovers and overcame an early eight-point deficit to grab the three-point halftime lead.
Down 14-6 with just over 11 minutes remaining until the break, Arkansas State went on a 12-0 run in less than three minutes to take an 18-14 lead. Ellison scored seven of ASU's 12 points during the run, Scott added a bucket and Hurst hit from behind the arc to provide the remaining three points.
"I was extremely pleased with our defense in the whole first half," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. "We were very aggressive and forced a lot of turnovers to create some problems. With that, our offense started clicking a little bit. It was maybe our best half of the season."
"The second half was just the opposite," added Boyer. "Making free throws, taking care of the ball and boxing out on the rebounds - all three of those things just fell apart on us, and Louisiana Tech took advantage of it."
Louisiana Tech used a 13-2 run in the first seven minutes of the second half to build a 39-31 lead, and the Lady Techsters hit 22-of-25 free throws in the second half, including their final 10 attempts to seal the win. After hitting five of six from the charity stripe in the first half, Arkansas State knocked down just eight of 14 in the final 20 minutes.
Arkansas State closed within five on a layup from senior guard Ebonie Jefferson to cut the Lady Techster lead to 51-46 with 5:46 to play, but Louisiana Tech answered with four straight points in the next 26 seconds to push its lead back to nine at 55-46. The Red Wolves did not get closer than seven down the stretch.
Jefferson led all scorers with 20 points and also posted a team-high seven rebounds, while Hurst and Scott both finished in double figures as well with 10 points each.
Sophomore guard Jasmine Bendolph led Louisiana Tech with 16 points, junior forward Adrienne Johnson added 14 points and 10 rebounds, senior forward Shanavia Dowdell scored 12 and pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds and junior guard Whitney Jones added 10 points for the Lady Techsters.
The Red Wolves will continue their two-game home stand Friday, Nov. 27 when ASU hosts Missouri State. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m