JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) — Sophomore guard Aundrea Gamble scored a game-high 30 points, and sophomore forward Jalen O'Bannon added 13 as the Arkansas State women's basketball team opened their exhibition season with a 79-68 victory over Harding Monday at the Convocation Center.
Gamble added seven rebounds and six assists in 32 minutes of action, and junior guard Hanna Qedan tossed in seven rebounds to go along with 11 points to help the win the battle on boards.
"From a head coaching stand point that was a good exhibition game to have and this will be real valuable for us," A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. "Some of the positives defensively were that we had a real good stretch in the first, and then a real good stretch in the second half and we just half to do a better job of sustaining those longer."
A-State did not take its first lead until midway through the first quarter when Hanna Qedan knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Red Wolves up 16-15 with 9:38 to go in the first half. The lead change was part of a 14-0 run for A-State, which saw the lead grow to as many as seven with under seven minutes to go in the first period.
Harding chipped away at the lead and closed the margin to 35-34 going into the halftime break and tied the game at 37-37 just a minute into the second half. Brittney Gill pushed the advantage back to four after she knocked down a jump shot and then forced a turnover and converted a layup.
The Lady Bisons took a 43-41 with 15:59 to go in the second half, but A-State went on a 12-0 run and went up 53-43 with under 13 minutes remaining. Gamble scored 16 of her game-high 30 points in the second half while fellow sophomore Brittney Gill scored 11 points in her Red Wolves debut.
Gamble impressed in her first 20 minutes of action as a Red Wolves basketball player, scoring 14 points and dishing out four assists in the first half to lead all scorers in the opening frame.
Six players made their A-State debuts Monday night in addition to Gamble and Gill. Freshmen Aundrea Pipkins, Dominique Oliver, Brittany Fowler and Jamie Ruffins also each saw their first action Monday night.
Montana Lewis led Harding with 17 points, while Kirsten Celsor finished with 13 points and Arielle Saunders added 12.
The Red Wolves will close out their exhibition season at home Nov. 4 against Arkansas-Monticello. The regular season will get underway Nov. 11 against Missouri State in Jonesboro. Tipoff for both games is set for 7:05 p.m.