SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (12/5/10) — The Arkansas State Red Wolves (6-4) battled back from a 19-point deficit with 8:41 remaining to cut Missouri State's lead to eight points with just over two minutes to play, but ASU could not complete the comeback and the Lady Bears (5-2) went on to win 58-47 Sunday afternoon in women's basketball action at JQH Arena.
After falling behind 41-22 at the half, Arkansas State held MSU to just 17 points in the second half, with four of those points coming in the final minute on Lady Bear free throws. Cold shooting plagued the Red Wolves, however, as Arkansas State connected on just 22.6 percent of its shots from the floor.
Senior Shay Scott led the way for Arkansas State with a double-double of 13 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, and junior NeNe Hurst added 17 points. Scott's double-double was her fourth this season and the 22nd of her career. Guard Casey Garrison led MSU with 15 points while center Tia Mays added eight points, 11 rebounds and nine blocked shots.
"One approach we could take is that we could have gotten blown out today," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. "The other approach is that we didn't, and in the whole second half we gave up 17 points, with four of those coming at the free throw line in the last 30 seconds."
"We talked in the locker room before we took the floor about Missouri State statistically being a much better team in the first half than in the second half," added Boyer. "We knew we had to weather that to give ourselves a shot in the second half, and it turns out to be correct because we didn't handle it. If we had, we probably would have had a shot at it."
Arkansas State jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first 90 seconds of the game, but Missouri State went on a 20-6 run to take a 20-13 lead over the next 11 minutes. After hitting 6-of-12 shots in the first eight minutes of the game, the Red Wolves knocked down just two more field goals in the remainder of the half as the Lady Bears expanded their lead to 41-22 at the break.
The Red Wolves managed to cut the MSU lead to 11 at 43-32 when freshman forward Jane Morrill scored in the paint with just over 13 minutes remaining in the game, but Garrison answered with a three-pointer from the right corner less than a minute later, and Missouri State built its lead back to 19 before ASU began to rally in the closing minutes.
The Red Wolves will concentrate on final exams over the next week and will not return to the court until Dec. 15, when they travel to Ruston, La. to take on the Lady Techsters of Louisiana Tech.