DENVER, Colo. (1/19/11) – The Arkansas State Red Wolves (10-10, 3-4) battled back from a 17-point first-half deficit to trim Denver's lead to four points in the second half, but the Pioneers (12-7, 4-2) turned back ASU's rally to secure a 65-56 victory in Sun Belt Conference women's basketball action at Magness Arena.
Arkansas State cut the Pioneer lead to four at 40-36 when senior Shay Scott worked inside for a bucket with 12:02 remaining, but Denver shot 68.4 percent from the floor in the second half to prevent the Red Wolves from completing the comeback. Arkansas State had 12 more shots at the basket than Denver in the final 20 minutes, going 12-of-31 from the floor, but the Pioneers took advantage of their opportunities and knocked down 13-of-19 shots in the second half.
Scott led Arkansas State with her 11th double-double of the season, finishing the night with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Sophomores Jasmine Taylor and Quinishia McDowell added 10 and nine points, respectively.
"The start was just a killer for us," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. "We dug ourselves such a hole and it was tough coming back from that. But I am really proud of a lot of our fight after that. We didn't always play great, but we had some players that laid it on the line, including Quinishia McDowell and Jazmine Taylor who just played their hearts out."
"We had the big push in the first half, and outside of that it was a slow grind to get ourselves back in it," Boyer added. "That was such a tough thing mentally for the players. If you ever get over the hump and get the tie or a lead, then you get that extra push. But it's tough when you're playing so hard and can't seem to break under that five or four-point deficit."
Arkansas State fell behind 23-6 in the first nine minutes of the game. The Pioneers knocked down 10 of their first 12 shots to build the early 17-point advantage. From there, Arkansas State held Denver to just two more field goals in the half and outscored the Pioneers 17-7 to cut the Denver lead to 30-23 at the break.
After shooting 83.3 percent in the first nine minutes, Denver went to the locker room shooting 42.9 percent on 12-of-28 shooting. The Red Wolves hit 8-of-25 shots (.320) in the first 20 minutes, with McDowell and Scott leading the way with five points each.
Senior Brianna Culberson led Denver on the night with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while junior Kaetlyn Murdoch added 12 points.
Arkansas State won the battle on the boards, outrebounding the Pioneers 37-32. Denver shot 53.2 percent on the night while ASU connected on 35.7 percent of its shots.
Arkansas State's two-game road trip will continue Jan. 22 when the Red Wolves travel to Denton, Texas to take on the Mean Green of North Texas. Tipoff at the Super Pit is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.