JONESBORO, Ark. (12/22/09) - Sophomore guard NeNe Hurst filled out the box score with 16 points, eight rebounds, six assists and a career-high seven steals to lead the Arkansas State Red Wolves (5-7) to a 68-54 victory over the Southern Illinois Salukis (1-8) Tuesday night at the ASU Convocation Center.
Hurst hit 6-of-9 shots from the floor, including 2-of-3 from beyond the three-point arc and did not commit a turnover in 35 minutes of playing time. Junior forward Shay Scott also finished the night with 16 points and eight rebounds, while senior guard Ebonie Jefferson ripped down 10 rebounds to go along with eight more boards from senior forward Lyndsay Schlup.
Hurst had 14 points and five rebounds at the half to help the Red Wolves take a 35-20 lead into the locker room. Arkansas State out-rebounded Southern Illinois 29-21 in the first half with Scott, Schlup, Jefferson and Hurst combining for 20 rebounds before intermission. The Red Wolves limited the Salukis to just three offensive rebounds and no second-chance points in the first 20 minutes while forcing 14 turnovers.
"I'm certainly pleased with the win and could not be happier with our play in the first half," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer, who notched his 100th career Convocation Center victory. "Our movement was great offensively. All year long we have struggled some with our shot selection, and in the first half I thought our shot selection was great. Defensively, we did a good job of forcing turnovers and we gave up just three offensive rebounds in the first half, which was a point of emphasis."
"NeNe Hurst filled up the stat line," Boyer added. "I thought her shot selection was great and she kept everyone involved. I thought this was one of her better performances."
Southern Illinois went on a 23-9 run out of the locker room to cut the Red Wolves' lead to 44-43 with 11:27 to play, but ASU freshman Jasmine Taylor came off the bench to knock down a free throw and a baseline jumper 13 seconds later to push the A-State lead to four at 47-43.
A layup from freshman guard Quinishia McDowell gave the Red Wolves a 49-43 advantage with 10:01 remaining, and Southern Illinois did not get closer than five in the remainder of the game.
Arkansas State padded its lead back to double-digits at 57-47 on a layup from Jefferson with 6:44 remaining and continued to pull away in the final minutes.
In addition to her 10 rebounds, Jefferson finished the night with eight points, as did sophomore guard Meghan Lewis. McDowell added six points, Schlup and sophomore center Linsay Henke chipped in four points each, with Taylor and freshman guard LaWanda Clayborn closing out the ASU scoring with three points each. Southern Illinois guard Christine Presswood hit five three-pointers to lead all scorers with 23 points.