JONESBORO, Ark. (01/23/10) - Junior forward Shay Scott scored 19 points, and senior guard Ebonie Jefferson added a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds to lift the Arkansas State (8-12, 3-6) Red Wolves to a 67-56 victory over the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette Wednesday night in Sun Belt Conference women's basketball action at the ASU Convocation Center.
The Cajuns (8-13, 3-6) knocked down 10 of their first 12 shots from the field to take a 24-11 lead seven minutes into the game. With 5:55 remaining in the first half, Louisiana-Lafayette's lead swelled to 17 when sophomore forward Mercedes Johnson, who led the Cajuns with 19 points, sank a jumper to stretch the ULL lead to 33-16.
From there, Arkansas State began to chip away, outscoring the Ragin' Cajuns 11-2 in the remainder of the half to cut the Louisiana-Lafayette lead to seven, 35-28 at the break.
"I felt like we were playing well defensively to start the game, but Louisiana-Lafayette was just hitting some tough shots early and then there was a stretch where things kind of just fell apart for us," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. "They were getting every hustle play, beating us in transition and were getting a lot of offensive rebounds. Fortunately, we were able to make one strong push at the end of the first half to cut their lead to seven, and then I thought we won every aspect of the game in the second half."
The Ragin' Cajuns opened the second half with a three-pointer from sophomore guard Nicole Morris to jump out to a 10-point lead at 38-28, but Arkansas State answered with six straight, getting two baskets from Scott and another from senior forward Lyndsay Schlup to trim the ULL lead to four at 38-34 with 17:08 to play.
The Red Wolves pulled even at 42-42 when sophomore guard Meghan Lewis sank a three-pointer with 12:51 to play, and a three-point play from Jefferson just over a minute later gave Arkansas State its first lead of the second half at 47-44. The Red Wolves did not trail again as Scott scored 13 of her points in the second half, and Jefferson scored eight.
"We challenged our players at halftime, and we started making all the hustle plays," said Boyer. "The biggest adjustment (in the second half) was just having Shay Scott back on the floor. She was doing a great job offensively and when she went out in the first half, our offense really struggled. Getting her back in the second half was a big part of the game."
Arkansas State forced 17 second-half turnovers and held the Cajuns to just one offensive rebound in the second half, part of a 41-38 advantage on the boards for ASU in the game.
In addition to the double-figure night from Scott and Jefferson, the Red Wolves also got 11 points from sophomore guard NeNe Hurst. Schlup added eight points, nine rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots.
Arkansas State will return to action Saturday, Jan. 30 when the Red Wolves host the Denver Pioneers in a 3:05 p.m. SBC-West division matchup.