LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (ASU) — The Arkansas State women's basketball battled back from a 10-point second half deficit, but could not complete the comeback in a 58-50 loss to Arkansas-Little Rock Saturday night at the Jack Stephens Center.
The Red Wolves (15-14, 12-8 SBC) trailed by as many as 10 in the second half, but used a 16-5 run to take a 43-42 lead with 8:12 to go in the game, but UALR (22-7, 14-6) took the lead back on their next possession and the Red Wolves failed to recapture the lead and ultimately fell by eight points.
"We will build on the good things from this week," ASU head coach Brian Boyer said. "We lost to two good teams on the road, but we are still playing some good basketball. We just have to correct some things and just like all the other teams it is down to just a few games to get to the NCAA Tournament."
Sophomore Hanna Qedan helped spark the A-State rally in the second half, scoring all 10 of her points in the final 20 minutes after not taking a shot in the first half.
Freshman Jalen O'Bannon also provided offense for the Red Wolves, scoring six of her 11 points in the second half. O'Bannon found success driving in the lane and taking advantage of her athleticism, but the freshman was limited late in the game after picking up her fourth foul with just under nine minutes to go.
UALR led 37-27 after starting the second half on a 10-4 run. ASU closed the gap to 42-41 when Jane Morrill knocked a jumper after a UALR turnover. The Red Wolves took their first lead of the second half on a layup by Olvera, but the Trojans scored on their next offensive possession and the Red Wolves failed to regain the lead.
Olvera finished the game with a team-high 12 points on 6-of-13 shooting. O'Bannon led the team with seven rebounds, while Qedan had two steals on the night.
"This game came down to one very important stat and that was turnovers," Boyer said. "There were 23 turnovers by us tonight and that is a lot in a low possession game like this and it came back to haunt us. It hurt us early and then we came back in the middle part of the game and then had some costly ones late in the game."
ASU committed 23 turnovers on the night, including five in the game's final six minutes which helped the Trojans pull away.
The Trojans jumped out to a 14-4 lead to start the game, but the Red Wolves slowly chipped away at the 10-point lead and closed the gap to 17-16 after Sandy Jackson swiped a pass from UALR's Ka'Nesheia Cobbins and passed it ahead to Olvera for an uncontested layup.
Olvera capped an 8-1 run for the Red Wolves on their next offensive possession with a layup in the paint to give the Red Wolves their first lead of the game at 18-17, but UALR scored seven straight points to retake the lead. Carlisha Wyatt hit a shot in the paint with 41 seconds to go in the first half to set the halftime score at 25-21.
The Trojans began the game hitting five of their first eight field goals, but finished the first half just 9-of-27 (33.3 percent) from the field. The Red Wolves finished the first half with 16 rebounds, including 14 on the defensive glass, after not collecting a board for the game's first five minutes.
Arkansas State will be the No. 4 seed going into next week's Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Hot Springs, Ark., and will play the No. 5 seed at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 9.