JONESBORO, Ark. (ASU) – Hanna Qedan had a 3-point shot blocked by Middle Tennessee's Icelyn Elie as time expired as the Arkansas State women's basketball team fell to the Blue Raiders 72-70 Wednesday night at the Convocation Center in a Sun Belt Conference women's basketball matchup.
Kortni Jones hit a jumper with 7.0 seconds left to go in the game to give the Blue Raiders the advantage, however Ashley Olvera found a wide open Qedan with just a few seconds left in the game, but her shot was blocked on a sprawling attempt from Elie as time expired to give Middle Tennessee the victory.
"We were just trying to get the ball in Ashley Olvera's hands and then let her create something," ASU head coach Brian Boyer said. "It was a great decision to get Hanna the ball because she appeared to be wide open but the kid just flew in and made a great play."
Qedan finished with career high 22 points on 5-of-9 shooting. She was 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and went 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Jane Morrill added 15 points and five rebounds, while Carlisha Wyatt finished with seven points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
ASU led 68-64 with 4:06 to go after Morrill knocked down a 3-pointer, but it would be A-State's last field goal of the game. The Red Wolves took a 69-64 edge after Wyatt hit a free throw, but the Blue Raiders responded with a layup from Ebony Rowe to pull within three points.
Ashley Olvera made 1-of-2 free throws with 2:06 to go to give the Red Wolves 70-66 edge, but it would be A-State's last point of the game. Jones scored six straight points to end the game, including the go-ahead basket with six seconds to go to propel the Blue Raiders to the win.
"I thought our execution was decent enough down the stretch," Boyer said. "I think they just defended us really well and one of our last offensive possessions they went to a zone for the first time all night and took away our penetration and it was a good adjustment for them."
Middle Tennessee raced out to a 12-4 advantage to start the game, but ASU battled back. Carlette Wyatt gave A-State its first lead of the half on a 3-pointer with 7:50 to go in the period. However, Middle Tennessee went on a 15-4 run to close the half and took a 39-31 lead into the halftime break.
The Red Wolves bounced back and went on a 10-2 run to start the second half to tie the score at 41-41. Olvera and Morrill each hit ‘3s' during the run and helped set the tempo for the remainder of the game.
The two teams battled for the remainder of the second half, which saw the lead change 12 times and featured 10 ties. A-State outscored the Blue Raiders 14-0 in bench points, but Middle Tennessee dominated inside and outscored the Red Wolves 50-22 in the paint.
"We did a lot of good things tonight and had an opportunity to win it," Boyer said. "I was disappointed with the start, but beyond that I had no issues with our effort and I thought we did a lot of good things."
ASU will return to action Sunday, Jan. 6 at home against Western Kentucky. Tipoff is set for 2:05 p.m. at the Convocation Center.