CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (11/12/10) — Freshman forward Jane Morrill scored 14 points and junior guard NeNe Hurst added 12 points to lead the Arkansas State Red Wolves (1-0) to a 69-59 victory over host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (0-1) in the TAMUCC Islanders Tip-Off in the season opener for both teams.
Arkansas State forced 32 turnovers in the game and got points from all 10 players who took the court.
Arkansas State trailed 8-5 in the early going, but went on a 29-9 run in the final 16 minutes of the first half to take a 34-17 lead at the break. The Red Wolves forced 21 Islander turnovers in the first 20 minutes, converting the miscues into 17 points. Ten players saw action for ASU in the first half, with all 10 getting into the scoring column. Hurst and Jazmine Taylor led the Red Wolves at intermission with six points each.
"All preseason I talked about us being a better scoring team, with more individuals that can score," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. "We saw that tonight. JT (Jasmine Taylor) got her first start and came in and knocked down an early three, Jazmine hit a couple of threes and we know that NeNe is going to get us some points. Then Meghan (Lewis) hit a three for us so that is where the balance started to come in."
"I thought our defense in the first half was really good," added Boyer. "With our positioning, pressure and not allowing them to be passers, we did a good job of that. Our help-side defense was really good and we did a good job of contesting shots, so I was really pleased with that."
In the second half, TAMUCC closed to within 12 points in the opening minutes, but the Red Wolves regrouped to lead by as many as 27 with just under eight minute to play.
In addition to the double-digit efforts from Morrill and Hurst, the Red Wolves got a career-high nine points from guard Andi Watson, eight points each from guards Quinishia McDowell and Jazmine Taylor and five points each from Lewis and forward Jasmine Taylor. Forward Shay Scott added four points, with forwards Breaunna Ellison and Mekena Randle closing out the scoring with two points each. McDowell led the Red Wolves on the boards with eight rebounds. Hurst blocked a career-high three shots, and Scott added three blocks as well.
The Red Wolves will play for the tournament championship Saturday afternoon when they take on the 22nd-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes in a 5:00 p.m. game at American Bank Center. Iowa defeated Southern 76-52 to open the Islanders Tip-Off Friday afternoon.