Bowling Green, KY (KAIT) - The Arkansas State Red Wolves got career performances from three players, including a pair of double-doubles, and rallied from a 13-point deficit with less than seven minutes remaining to force overtime, but the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers outscored the Red Wolves 12-7 in the extra period to grab an 83-78 victory Wednesday night in Sun Belt Conference women's basketball action at E.A. Diddle Arena.
A-State forwards Shay Scott and Lyndsay Schlup both finished the night with double-digit points and rebounds. Scott scored a team-high 18 points and pulled down 14 rebounds while blocking a career-high five shots, and Schlup tossed in a career-best 17 points to go along with 10 rebounds. The Red Wolves (10-15, 5-9) also got a career-high 18 points from sophomore guard Meghan Lewis, who hit 5-of-9 three-pointers on the evening, and 17 points from senior guard Ebonie Jefferson, who recorded her 1,000th career point in the game.
The Hilltoppers (16-8, 10-3) countered with 21 points from junior guard Amy McNear and a career-high 24 rebounds and 16 points from senior Arnika Brown. Brown scored Western Kentucky's first eight points in the overtime period to help the Hilltoppers build an 81-76 lead with 1:16 remaining, and the Red Wolves did not get closer than three points in the final minute.
"Very proud of my team's effort...we gave ourselves a good chance," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. "I like the fact that even in the very start of the game, Western made a big push and we answered it and took the lead late in the first half. They pushed it to double figures in the second half and it would have been easy to roll over at that point, but we kept fighting to give ourselves a chance. Unfortunately, the last push of the game was theirs and we were unable to answer."
Western Kentucky led by as many as eight in the early going before Arkansas State rallied. Jefferson scored her 1,000th career point at the 14:30 mark of the first half when she dropped in a jumper from just inside the paint that cut the 'Topper lead to 13-9, and a layup from Schlup with 7:25 remaining in the half tied the game at 25-25.
Schlup, who knocked down her first seven shots of the game, hit from outside the arc on the next ASU possession to give the Red Wolves a 28-25 advantage, but the Hilltoppers fought back to take a 37-35 lead into the locker room at the break.
After trailing by two at the half, Arkansas State knotted the score at 43-43 when Schlup hit a jumper at the 16:44 mark. From there, Western Kentucky went on an 11-1 run over the next four minutes to grab a 54-44 advantage.
Western Kentucky built its lead to 13 at 64-51 with 8:02 to play in the second half before a jumper from Scott with 6:42 remaining ignited the Red Wolves' second-half rally. From there, A-State outscored the Hilltoppers 20-7 to send the game into overtime.
Lewis scored nine straight during the run in a span of less than two minutes to pull ASU within five at 67-62 with just under five minutes to play, and Schlup tied the game at 71-71 with a free throw at the 31-second mark to force the overtime.
Brown scored the first two baskets of overtime, both off of offensive rebounds, to give Western Kentucky a lead that it would not relinquish.
Arkansas State blocked a season-high 10 shots in the game, and Scott recorded the 17th double-double of her career and sixth of the season. Schlup's double-double was her third of the season and fourth of her career, and the loss was the first regular-season overtime game suffered by a Boyer team during his 11 seasons at ASU. Boyer was 11-0 in overtime games heading into Wednesday night's contest.
The Red Wolves will be off until Feb. 17 when they travel to Lafayette, La. to take on the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette in a 7:00 p.m. game at Earl K. Long Gymnasium.