BOWLING GREEN, KY (ASU) — Arkansas State freshman Hanna Qedan scored eight points during a key second-half run to help the Arkansas State Red Wolves (12-16, 6-9) erase a seven-point deficit and defeat the Western Kentucky Lady Hilltoppers 56-53 Wednesday night in Sun Belt Conference women's basketball action at E.A. Diddle Arena.
Sophomore Jane Morrill led the Red Wolves with 14 points, including two free throws with 5.8 seconds remaining that forced the Hilltoppers (8-19, 5-10) to attempt adesperation three at the buzzer. Senior NeNe Hurst McLennan added 10 points for the Red Wolves to help Arkansas State to its first victory in Bowling Green since the 2003-04 season.
The Red Wolves trailed 44-43 when Qedan connected on a three-pointer to put ASU on top with 6:27 remaining and jump-start a 10-3 run.
A bucket from junior Quinishia McDowell on the next Arkansas State possession made it 48-44, and another trey from Qedan with 3:19 to play pushed the A-State advantage to 44-51. Western Kentucky answered with a three-pointer from Vanessa Obafemi with 2:47 to play that cut the Red Wolves advantage to four, but a layup from Qedan made it 53-47 with2:20 remaining, and Arkansas State hit 3-of-5 free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.
"It was a true team win, and every player that stepped on the floor really did something positive," said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. "A lot of players touched the ball, everybody played hard defensively, rebounded and got involved, and I was very pleased with that. When we made our big run in the second half, it was on defense. We got two or three steals during the run and the defense is what allowed us to win this game."
The Red Wolves forced 28 turnovers on the night, just one short of their season high, nabbing 12 steals in the process, the second-most of the season. Arkansas State turned the ball over just 15 times and outscored the Lady Toppers 25-17 in points off of turnovers.
Aftergiving up a three-pointer to open the game, Arkansas State countered with a 9-0 run and led until the final minute of the half. Western Kentucky's Chastity Gooch scored with just under a minute remaining to give the Lady Toppers a 25-24 lead at the break. Morrill and Hurst-McLennan paced a balanced ASU scoring effort in the first half with six points each.
For the game, Qedan finished with a career-high eight points, McDowell and senior Meghan Lewis added seven each and juniors Ashley Olvera and Andi Watson finished with four each. Freshman Jasmine Hunt wrapped up the ASU scoring with two points. Morrill led ASU on the boards with five rebounds, while Hurst-McLennan and Watson added four each.
Obafemi led Western Kentucky with 14 points.
Arkansas State will now close out the regular season on the road at in-state rival UALR Feb. 25. Tipoff between the Red Wolves and Trojans is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.