JONESBORO, Ark. (12/30/10) — Three players scored in double figures to lead the Arkansas State Red Wolves (8-6, 1-0) to a 68-53 victory over the Jaguars of South Alabama (8-5, 0-1) Thursday evening at the ASU Convocation Center in the Sun Belt Conference women's basketball opener for both teams.
Senior Shay Scott recorded her seventh double-double of the season and 26th of her career to lead the Red Wolves, finishing with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Senior Jazmine Taylor added 12 points, a career-high eight rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots, and junior NeNe Hurst finished with 12 points and a career-best eight steals.
Arkansas State scored 24 points off of 18 South Alabama turnovers on the night and out-rebounded the Jaguars 48-41, including a 17-14 advantage on the offensive boards. The Red Wolves held South Alabama to 32.8 percent shooting on the night, while ASU shot a season-high 41.8 percent from the field.
The Red Wolves used a 13-0 run midway through the first half to set the tone for the remainder of the game. Arkansas State used a free throw from Scott to start the run at the 12:43 mark, then got a jumper from Hurst and a three-pointer from senior Breaunna Ellison to grab a 17-11 advantage less than four minutes later. Freshman Jane Morrill capped the run with an inside basket that put ASU up by 13 at 24-11 with 6:00 remaining, and the Red Wolves took a 40-25 lead into the locker room at the half.
"I thought we played really well and I thought our defense was great," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. "I hope our players continue to build on that, because I think they are beginning to have fun playing good defense. Our offense was much better, with us shooting over 40 percent. I don't necessarily think we shot it better, but I think our execution was better than it has been in a long time. We executed to get good shots and made good decisions in transition after some of the turnovers."
Arkansas State stretched its lead to 18 in the first 90 seconds of the second half before taking its largest lead of the game, 61-37 on a layup from Scott with 8:47 to play. South Alabama went on a 12-2 run over the next five minutes to trim the A-State lead to 14 at 63-49 with just under four minutes remaining, but the Red Wolves answered with another layup from Scott and the Jaguars did not get closer than 15 in the final minutes..
Senior forward Christian Shelter led South Alabama with 14 points and eight rebounds.
The Red Wolves will return to action Sunday afternoon when ASU hosts Western Kentucky in a 2:05 p.m. Sun Belt Conference matchup at the ASU Convocation Center.