Missouri State holds off Red Wolves

JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) — Four Arkansas State players scored in double figures, including a game-high 27 points from sophomore forward Jane Morrill, but the Missouri State Lady Bears countered by shooting 52.5 percent from the floor, with 10 three-pointers, to defeat the Red Wolves 77-68 Tuesday night in non-conference women's basketball action at the ASU Convocation Center.

Arkansas State led 41-40 at the break behind 17 points from Morrill, who was 6-of-7 from the field, including 3-of-3 from three-point range.

The Red Wolves shot 46.9 percent in the first 20 minutes, knocking down seven three pointers along the way, but Missouri State countered by shooting 57.7 percent from the floor, while hitting eight threes in the opening half.

In the second half, Arkansas State was just 1-of-13 from three-point range as the Red Wolves' shooting slipped to 25.8 percent.  The Red Wolves used a three-pointer from Morrill to open the second half with a 44-40 advantage, but Missouri State answered with an 11-2 run to go up 51-46 with just under 16 minutes to play.

"It was very hard fought and there was a lot of good basketball on both ends of the court," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer.  "Missouri State is so good in transition.  They get up and down the court…and we had a very difficult time of getting matched up early in their transition.  We did a good job in our half-court defense and forced a good number of turnovers (22), they just got too many scores before we got our defense established."

"Offensively, the first half was very good," adder Boyer.  "I thought our patience, our ball-movement and our attack was very good.  In the second half, we forced a lot of shots that were not very good.  We were just not patient enough offensively.  We didn't make the extra passes that we needed to make."

The Lady Bears extended their lead to as much as 10 when guard Jaleshia Roberson, who led Missouri State with 22 points, converted a four-point play after being fouled on a three-pointer to make it 67-57 with 8:02 remaining.

The Red Wolves rallied down the stretch, getting a layup from Morrill, followed by a free throw from senior guard NeNe Hurst-McLennan to trim the MSU lead to 71-68 with 1:24 to play, but the Lady Bears put together a 6-0 run in the final minute to seal the win.

In addition to Morrill's 27 points, the Red Wolves also got 12 points from Hurst-McLennan, and 10 each from guards Quinishia McDowell and Ashley Olvera.  Morrill led ASU on the boards with six rebounds, followed by five each from Hurst-McLennan and sophomore Mekena Randle.

Arkansas State will be off until Dec. 29 when the Red Wolves host Florida Atlantic in their Sun Belt Conference Opener.  Tipoff is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. at the ASU Convocation Center.