MARTIN, Tenn. (AStateRedWolves.com) – After trailing by just one at halftime, Arkansas State fell victim to a slow start in the second half in a 72-62 loss to UT-Martin in a non-conference matchup at Skyhawk Arena on Monday night.
The Skyhawks led by as many 14 in the second half, but the Red Wolves (0-2) cut the lead to 63-59 with 2:49 left in the game after going on an 8-0 run, but ASU could get no closer.
UT-Martin (1-1) pushed the lead back to six on a layup by Shelby Crawford and Jessica Newsome made it an eight-point game after knocking down two free throws with 1:06 left in the game. The Skyhawks went 7-8 from the free throw line in the game's final minute to help close out the victory.
"We chipped our way back into it and got it down to four with ball and didn't score," ASU head coach Brian Boyer said. "We just got to keep working at this and we are just trying to do some different things offensively. It seems like every possession we are frustrated at something and that is something we have got to change pretty quick."
ASU was led by junior college transfer Carlisha Wyatt who poured in 19 points and went 9-for-11 from the field. Wyatt went 5-for-5 from the field in the first half and paced the A-State bench which had 29 points on the night.
ASU found early success working the ball inside to its post players. Morrill scored eight points in the first half as the Red Wolves outscored the Skyhawks 20-14 in the paint.
ASU and UT-Martin battled for much of the first half, which saw the lead change nine times. Wyatt gave ASU a 26-24 edge in the half when she converted on an and-1 play with 4:52 left in the half. Olvera gave ASU its final lead of the game with 1:33 left in the first half on a fast break layup, but ASU struggled to keep pace with UT-Martin until late in the game.
The Red Wolves were plagued by turnovers for the second straight game and committed 19 on the night, which the Skyhawks converted into 14 points.
ASU shot 45 percent from the field on the night and won the rebounding battle 35-31.
Morrill finished with 15 points and eight rebounds on the night, while Ashley Olvera scored 12 points and dished out seven assists.
ASU will return to the court Thursday, Nov. 15 for its home opener against Wichita State. Tipoff is set for 7:05 p.m.