Morrill & Olvera lead ASU past UT-Martin 83-68

JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) — Sophomore Jane Morrill poured in 30 points, senior NeNe Hurst-McLennan added 15 and junior Ashley Olvera posted a near triple-double to lead the Arkansas State Red Wolves (7-10) to an 83-68 victory over the Skyhawks of Tennessee-Martin Tuesday night in non-conference women's basketball action at the ASU Convocation Center.

Olvera finished the night with 11 points, a career-high 10 assists, and just missed the triple-double with a game and career-high nine rebounds.  The Red Wolves finished the game shooting a season-high 63.2 percent from the floor and their 83 points was their second-highest total of the season.

"This was a good win against a good team," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer.  "I am not sure everyone realizes how good of a win this is.  Tennessee-Martin is a very good, high-scoring team.  It's a team that will easily wind up winning 20 games.  They scored 68 points tonight, but I thought our players worked very hard to challenge everything.  They shot 36 percent from the field and 26 percent from the three, which was a victory for us."

After leading by a dozen at the break, Arkansas State built its lead to 17 in the first four minutes of the second half at 53-36, but the Skyhawks made a game of it with an 11-0 run that cut the A-State advantage to 53-47 with 10:59 to play.

The Red Wolves stopped the run with a pair of free throws from junior Andi Watson, followed by back-to-back buckets from Morrill to build a 12-point, 59-47 cushion at the 9:21 mark.  UT-Martin pulled within single digits when guard Jasmine Newsome hit a three-pointer to make it 65-56 with 6:26 remaining, but ASU used a jumper and a three-pointer from junior Quinishia McDowell to go up 70-56 with 5:06 remaining.

The Skyhawks cut the ASU lead to nine points three more times down the stretch, but Morrill scored six unanswered points for ASU in the final 2:19 to put the game away.

"I thought Jane did a great job of getting position," added Boyer.  "She posted up very strong and she was confident with her moves.  Ashley's stats just show you how active she was tonight.  Not only her scoring, but really creating and penetrating.  She is very capable of rebounding and tonight she was very focused and aggressive on that end."

Powered by 12 points from Morrill and seven from Olvera, the Red Wolves led by 12 at halftime.   Arkansas State forced five turnovers in the final four minutes to fuel a 10-2 run that helped the Red Wolves take a 43-31 lead into the locker room.

The Red Wolves enjoyed a 45-21 advantage on the boards, including a 16-13 advantage on the offensive glass, and outscored the Skyhawks 56-30 in the paint.

In addition to the scoring totals from Morrill, Hurst-McLennan and Olvera, the Red Wolves also got nine points each from McDowell and sophomore Lunden Roberts, seven from Watson and two from Meghan Lewis.  Heather Butler led UTM with 19 points, followed by Newsome with 13.

The Red Wolves will be back in action Jan. 14 when ASU hosts in-state and SBC-West rival UALR.  Tipoff  for Saturday's game is set for 3:05 at the ASU Convocation Center.