CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (11/13/10) — Arkansas State senior Jazmine Taylor's three-pointer with a second remaining bounced twice on the rim but wouldn't fall, allowing the 22nd-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0) to escape with a 50-47 victory over the Red Wolves (1-1) in the championship game of the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders Tip-Off Saturday afternoon at American Bank Center.
Iowa broke a 40-40 tie on a pair of free throws from guard Kelsey Cermak with 5:16 remaining and led by five when guard Kamille Whalin knocked down a three-pointer at the 4:29 mark, but the Red Wolves battled back to within a point at 48-47 when guard NeNe Hurst drained a three-pointer with 45 seconds to play. Iowa forward Morgan Johnson put the Hawkeyes back up by three with a baseline jumper with 24 seconds remaining, giving Arkansas State a chance to tie on its final possession, but Taylor's jumper would not go down.
Hurst led Arkansas State with 12 points, followed by guard Quinishia McDowell with 11. Both players were named to the all-tournament team.
"The theme of the day was that we didn't have to be better than Iowa, just outplay them for one game on one day," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. "Even at halftime, we said we only had to outplay them for 20 minutes. We did everything we wanted and we thought if we could get it within three or four we could make a run. They just hit a couple of huge shots, but our effort was absolutely outstanding.
"Defensively, we were great," added Boyer. "Iowa is a team that last year averaged over 70 points a game, and they have every one of their players back. To hold them to 50 was an amazing defensive job."
Arkansas State held the Hawkeyes to 16-of-54 shooting (29.6 percent) from the floor and 5-of-28 (17.9 percent) from outside the three-point arc. The Red Wolves countered with 37.3 percent shooting, knocking down three more field goals (19-of-51) than the Hawkeyes, but Iowa hit 13-of15 from the free throw line while ASU was limited to 5-of-8.
The two teams went to the locker room deadlocked at 29-29 at the half. Arkansas State battled back from an early seven-point deficit in the half, getting seven points from McDowell, six from freshman Jane Morrill and five from Hurst, and the defense held the Hawkeyes to 29 percent shooting to tie the game at the break.
Hurst pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and four steals to go along with her 12 points and Morrill also finished in double figures for A-State with 10 points. Wahlin led Iowa with 14 points and guard Kachine Alexander added 12.
Arkansas State will return to the court Nov. 15 when it hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff at the ASU Convocation Center in the Red Wolves' home opener. The game will be the first of three-consecutive home games for A-State. The Red Wolves will host Saint Louis Nov. 19 before wrapping up the home stand with a Nov. 22 matchup with Big East power St. John's. All three games are set to tip off at 7:05 p.m.