JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) — Four players scored in double figures to lead the Arkansas State Red Wolves (9-14, 3-7) to a 76-61 victory over the Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe (7-16, 5-5) Wednesday night in Sun Belt Conference women's basketball action at the ASU Convocation Center.
Sophomore Jane Morrill led ASU in scoring with 21 points, and senior NeNe Hurst-McLennan filled out the box score with 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals. Juniors Ashley Olvera and Quinishia McDowell each added 14 points, with McDowell also notching four assists and five rebounds.
The Red Wolves led almost the whole way, taking a 6-4 lead that they would not relinquish when Hurst-McLennan scored on a layup less than three minutes into the game.
Arkansas State led 36-26 at the half, getting 13 points from Morrill and 10 from Hurst-McLennan before intermission. Morrill's three-pointer with 1:31 remaining in the half gave A-State a 36-24 advantage, and the Red Wolves did not allow ULM to get closer than nine the rest of the night.
"I thought we played a complete game tonight," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. "I was very pleased with the effort. We felt like the two keys for tonight were our transition defense – we tried to get ULM into a half-court offense – and rebounding. I thought we did a really good job of both. Offensively, we are pretty good team if we get Jane, NeNe and Ashley all scoring like they did, and then everyone else surrounding them just did their job. And I thought our decision-making in transition was very good tonight."
Arkansas State opened the second half with a 10-2 run, going up by 20 on junior AndiWatson's three-pointer from the top of the key with 17:44 remaining to make it 46-26. The Warhawks got as close as nine on a basket by forward Ashleigh Simmons that cut ASU's advantage to 55-46 with 9:11 to play, but the Red Wolves used a pair of free throws from Olvera and a layup from McDowell to counter with four straight, and that was as close as the Warhawks would get down the stretch.
"We've come out at times this year and had some flat stretches in the second half, and I thought our start after halftime was huge," added Boyer. "It gave us a lot of confidence, and even though they made a push, we had built such a margin that it was just a matter of hanging on."
Arkansas State had the edge in almost every statistical category, outrebounding the Warhawks 39-32, with Watson leading the way with nine. The Red Wolves enjoyed a 21-9 advantage in points off of turnovers and outscored ULM 40-34 in the paint. A-State forced 17 ULM turnovers on the night while coughing the ball up just nine times.
Simmons and center Larrie Williams led ULM with 14 points each.
The Red Wolves will play their next two games on the road, traveling to Mobile, Ala. to take on the Jaguars of South Alabama Feb. 8 before moving on to Lafayette, La. to face ULL Feb. 11.