JONESBORO, Ark. (2/26/11) – Freshman forward Jane Morrill paced Arkansas State with 13 points, while senior forward Shay Scott and junior guard NeNe Hurst each added a double-double to lead the Red Wolves (16-13, 9-7) to a 54-51 victory over the UALR Trojans (19-7, 13-2) Saturday night in Sun Belt Conference women's basketball action at the ASU Convocation Center.
With the victory, ASU head coach Brian Boyer became the winningest head coach in ASU basketball history, chalking up his 197th career win to lead all women's and men's head coaches.
UALR came into the game having wrapped up the Sun Belt Conference West Division title.
Scott added 11 points and 11 rebounds to Morrill's 13 points, helping Arkansas State control the game inside. The Red Wolves outscored UALR 32-12 in the paint and out-rebounded the Trojans 45-34, including a 15-10 advantage on the offensive glass. Hurst helped the ASU rebounding effort with 11 boards to go along with her 11 points on the evening.
"That was certainly the key to the game," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. "We have been a team all year long that when we have had success inside, we have given ourselves a chance to win. But tonight was as good a game as we have had all year where Shay and Jane were both a real presence inside."
The Red Wolves trailed 51-50 when sophomore guard Quinishia McDowell went to the line with 3:25 remaining and knocked down a pair of free throws to put ASU on top for good. Neither team could manage a score until Scott hit the second of two free throws to give A-State a 53-51 lead with 11 seconds to play.
Following a Trojan timeout, ASU junior guard Meghan Lewis blocked a three-point attempt by UALR's Janette Merriex with three seconds to play, and McDowell grabbed the rebound and added a free throw with a second remaining to set the final score.
"I couldn't be more proud of this group for their fight and energy all night long," said Boyer. "I think the biggest thing is that it was one of those nights where we were great offensively, and I don't know that we were always great defensively but we always seemed to be pretty good all the way through. It seemed like tonight, we had the ability to match each possession."
"You get into the last few minutes of a game like this, and you just do the best you can," Boyer added. "And tonight, it just worked out."
The Trojans led 34-32 at the half, but the Red Wolves responded after the break by taking an eight-point, 44-36 lead with 10:41 to play on a layup from senior Breaunna Ellison. From there, the Trojans chipped away at the ASU lead, going back on top 51-50 when senior guard Asriel Rolfe dropped in a three-pointer with 3:52 remaining. Rolfe's triple proved to be UALR's final points of the game as ASU limited the Trojans to just 17 points in the second half.
UALR senior Chastity Reed led the Trojans with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Rolfe finished in double figures as well with 11 points.
Ellison and Lewis each finished the night with six points for ASU, McDowell added five and senior Jazmine Taylor rounded out the scoring with two points.
The Red Wolves will now head to Hot Springs, Ark. March 5-8 for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, where they will enter the field as the #4 seed from the West Division. Arkansas State will take on FAU, the #5 seed from the East Division, Saturday at 12:15 p.m.