JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) – Three players scored in double figures to lead the Arkansas State women's basketball team to its third straight home victory with a 66-58 win over Nicholls State in front of a crowd of 2,843 at the Convocation Center Wednesday afternoon.
Jane Morrill finished with 21 points and added six rebounds and three blocks. She also knocked down a career high 11 free throws on her way to her 18th straight double-digit point total game.
"I thought it was a very good win against a very good Nicholls State team," ASU head coach Brian Boyer said. "I felt for our players at the start of the game because I thought we were a little tentative but thankfully we got through that, got some stops on defense and were able to get out in transition and really get things going."
ASU (4-7) led 30-26 at halftime, but quickly opened up an 11 point advantage in the second half after a strong start from Carlisha Wyatt. The junior scored six points in six minutes and finished the afternoon with 14 points and six rebounds.
The Red Wolves never trailed in the second half, but Nicholls State (7-3) cut the lead to 56-51 with 4:37 to go. Quinishia McDowell knocked down a pair of free throws to push the lead to seven and Morrill gave A-State a 60-51 lead after scoring on a tough shot underneath the basket.
ASU pulled away late thanks to solid production from its guards. Hanna Qedan scored seven of her 10 points in the final 20 minutes, while Ashley Olvera dished out four assists and had one steal and one block.
Arkansas State's defense held Nicholls State below its season average of 66 points per game and limited the Colonels to just 35 percent from the field.
"I thought our first half defense was exceptional," Boyer said. "I think in the first 18 minutes we held them to just 19 points and really throughout the entire game it was a really good defensive effort."
ASU started the game by missing its first 10 shots from the field, but managed to keep pace with the Colonels by knocking down free throws. The Red Wolves were 9-of-10 from the charity stripe in the first half, including a 7-of-8 performance from Morrill.
ASU trailed 11-5 with 13:25 left in the half, but went on a 10-1 run to take a 15-12 lead. The Colonels rallied to tie the score at 17-17, but ASU answered with seven straight points, including a 3-pointer from Andi Watson to take a 24-17 lead with 4:16 left in the first half.
The lead swelled to 30-19 after Carlisha Wyatt scored six straight points, but Nicholls State ended the period on a 7-2 run to close the A-State gap to 30-26 at halftime.
"That was a crucial stretch in the first half where Carlisha got those two three-point plays," Boyer said. "She had really big points for us this afternoon and that is good to see out of her."