JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) – The Arkansas State women's basketball team rallied from a double-digit second half deficit, but could not complete the comeback and fell to the UALR Trojans 54-50 at the Convocation Center on Wednesday night.
Freshman Jalen O'Bannon led A-State with 16 points and seven rebounds, while junior Jane Morrill added 13 points. Senior guards Ashley Olvera and Quinishia McDowell finished with nine points each.
ASU's record fell to 13-12 overall and 10-6 in the Sun Belt Conference, while UALR improved to 17-7 and 9-6 in league play. Despite the loss, A-State maintained a half-game lead in the SBC West Division standings over UALR.
"We've been a team where we have been able to win open style games like at Western Kentucky and fortunately we have won a lot of these grind it out type of games too, but tonight we just didn't couldn't pull it out," ASU head coach Brian Boyer said. "They (UALR) make it so difficult on your inside game to score and it's just such a grind to get points inside where in other games it isn't."
ASU took its first lead of the game on a mid-range jumper from Ashley Olvera to go up 29-27 with 14:32 left in the contest. The Trojans missed a shot on the following possession, but ASU failed to extend its advantage and UALR was able to take the lead back on a three-point play from Ka'Neshia Cobbins.
After trading baskets over the next two possessions, which resulted in a 32-32 tie, the Trojans went on a 10-0 run and built a 42-32 edge with 9:08 left to go in the game. UALR led by as many as 12 with 7:37 to go, but A-State rallied and cut the lead to 53-48 on a layup from O'Bannon with 2:21 to play.
UALR pushed the lead to six with 55 seconds to play, but McDowell scored on a layup for the Red Wolves to pull within 54-50 with 43 seconds remaining. ASU fouled on the inbound pass and UALR's Taylor Ford missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but A-State failed to convert on the offensive end.
Ford was fouled again with 17 seconds to go and again missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but the Red Wolves did not score before time expired.
The Red Wolves shot 45 percent from the field in the game, including 52 percent in the second half, but the Trojans held a 40-29 edge on the boards and scored 13 second chance points.
"It is that time of year where you better have a short memory," Boyer said. "We can still win this division but we still have win. So the bottom line is we better move forward and we better win and all can you do is keep moving forward."
ASU will return to action Saturday, Feb. 16 for a Sun Belt Conference matchup at Louisiana-Monroe. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.