JONESBORO, Ark. (1/6/10) - A 10-0 run by Middle Tennessee in the early going of the second half proved to be the difference as the Blue Raiders handed the Arkansas State Red Wolves a 75-65 loss Wednesday night in Sun Belt Conference women's basketball action at the ASU Convocation Center.
Middle Tennessee (9-4, 4-0) led by three at 31-28 after ASU (6-9, 1-3) junior forward Shay Scott scored on a layup to open the second half, but the Blue Raiders rattled off 10 unanswered to go up 41-28 with just under 16 minutes to go in the game.
The Red Wolves cut the MTSU lead to eight at 44-36 on an inside bucket from senior forward Lyndsay Schlup with 13:12 to play and again on a three-pointer from sophomore guard NeNe Hurst at the 11:50 mark, but Middle Tennessee answered each run to lead by as many as 14 and ASU could not cut the gap further in the final 10 minutes.
The Red Wolves got 18 points each from Scott and senior guard Ebonie Jefferson, but Middle Tennessee countered with a game-high 24 from forward Brandi Brown, who hit six-of-seven from beyond the three-point arc. The Blue Raiders also owned a 41-34 advantage on the boards, including a 15-9 advantage on the offensive glass.
"I felt like we had some opportunities," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. "But the things that came back to haunt us were the things that come back to haunt you in any game - boxing out, rebounding and discipline-type things. Against Middle, you can't get away with any small lapse."
"At times we played well," said Boyer. "We had stretches of good defense, but the problem you have with Middle is that there is no margin for error."
Arkansas State out-shot the Blue Raiders 44.6 percent to 42.6 percent, but the Blue Raiders hit 10-of-27 from three-point range compared to 4-of-13 for the Red Wolves.
In addition to the double-figure efforts from Scott and Jefferson, the Red Wolves also got 10 points and five assists from Hurst and eight points and nine rebounds from Schlup. Guards Jackie Pickel and Chelsia Lymon also finished in double-digits from MTSU, with Pickel scoring 15 and Lymon adding 12 points.
Arkansas State will now hit the road for four consecutive games, beginning with a Jan. 10 Sun Belt Conference matchup with the Jaguars of South Alabama. Tipoff at the Mitchell Center is set for 3:00 p.m. and the game will be televised live by the Sun Belt Conference Network.