NEW ORLEANS (SunBeltSports.org) - Sun Belt Conference women's basketball teams went a combined 9-6 in the collegiate hoops opening weekend. UL-Lafayette and Troy opened up with back-to-back wins while UALR, Arkansas State and Texas State also won their opening games.
A-State's Aundrea Gamble took home the first Player of the Week award this season after the redshirt sophomore recorded a double-double in her first career game in a Red Wolves uniform. Gamble was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field in the first half and then added 18 points in the second half as A-State pulled for its first victory over the Missouri State Lady Bears in six years. Gamble finished the 10-of-13 from the field, 1-of-1 from beyond the arc and 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
Chanda Rigby's Troy Trojans claimed victories in their first two games, the first time that has happened since the 2005-06 season. The Trojans defeated Alabama State and Florida A&M to begin the season.
Garry Brodhead's Cajuns also went 2-0 in the opening weekend, defeating Nebraska-Omaha and Southern-New Orleans to open the season. Both Jasmin Mills and Ashley Benjamin posted double-doubles in the season opener, marking the first game in which two Ragin' Cajuns had double-doubles in the Garry Brodhead era. Mills scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Benjamin scored 15 points, picking up 14 rebounds.
UALR used four of its five freshman in its win against Sam Houston State. Kaitlyn Pratt saw the most time, playing 16 minutes and scoring nine points on 3-of-6 shooting and a 3-for-3 performance from the free throw line. Sharde' Collins had five points in 12 minutes, Keanna Keys had the layup that gave the Trojans the lead for good, and Di'Mond Jackson played two minutes in the first half. The four freshmen combined for 36 minutes and 16 points in the win.
Texas State opened up the 2013-14 regular season with a 73-45 victory over Huston-Tillotson at Strahan Coliseum. After a sluggish start, Texas State rallied to score 50 second-half points to roll past the Rams. Erin Peoples led the Bobcats with a floor-high 17 points in just 19 minutes on the floor.
After falling 86-47 in their opener at TCU on Saturday evening, UL-Monroe rebounded very well with a convincing 92-52 win over Louisiana College to open the 2013-14 home slate on Monday night. The win also doubled as the 300th win for the program inside Fant-Ewing Coliseum, where the Warhawks now hold a 300-170 (.638).
WKU erased a 12-point deficit in the season opener to get the win over the Lady Govs of Austin Peay on Saturday despite shooting just 34.2 percent from the field for the game. The inside play of junior All-America candidate Chastity Gooch (15 points, 15 rebounds) and senior guard Bianca McGee (21 points off the bench in 30 minutes) allowed the Lady Toppers to escape with the win.
Week 1 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week
Aundrea Gamble (Arkansas State, RS-Sophomore, Guard)
Newcomer Aundrea Gamble recorded a double-double in her first career game as an Arkansas State women's basketball player as the Red Wolves defeated Missouri State 79-61 in its regular season opener on Monday night. Gamble was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field in the first half and then added 18 points in the second half as A-State pulled for its first victory over the Lady Bears in six years. She led the team in scoring in the first half with 12 pints, while also pulling down four boards and did not miss a shot from the field or the free throw in her first official 20 minutes of action. She finished the 10-of-13 from the field, 1-of-1 from beyond the arc and 9-of-10 from the free throw line. She also consistently broke down the Lady Bears' defense with her dribble-drive penetration, which included a nifty reverse layup during the first half that brought the crowd to its feet. This was the Red Wolves' first double-double since Jan. 24 of last season and it's the squad's fourth in the last calendar year.
Friday, November 8
Troy at Alabama St. W, 77-67
Nebraska-Omaha at UL-Lafayette W, 80-68
UT Arlington at Houston Baptist L, 60-72
Huston-Tillotson at Texas State W, 73-45
(1) Georgia State at UT Martin L, 80-84
Saturday, November 9
Austin Peay at WKU W, 78-75
South Alabama at Indiana St. L, 40-53
UL-Monroe at TCU L, 47-86
Sunday, November 10
UT Arlington at No. 21/24 Oklahoma State L, 35-74
Sam Houston State at UALR W, 69-65
Monday, November 11
Southern-New Orleans at UL-Lafayette W, 72-62
Florida A&M at Troy W, 100-88
Louisiana College at UL-Monroe W, 92-52
WKU at Vanderbilt L, 60-85
Missouri St. at Arkansas State W, 79-61
Tuesday, November 12
South Alabama at Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Wednesday, November 13
Texas State at Texas 7:00 PM
UALR at Missouri St. 7:05 PM
Thursday, November 14
UIC at UT Arlington 7:30 PM
Friday, November 15
UL-Lafayette at Sam Houston State 11:30 AM
Tennessee State at Troy 12:00 PM
(1) Georgia State vs. North Carolina A&T 5:00 PM
Arkansas State at Austin Peay 7:00 PM
Southeastern Louisiana at UL-Monroe 7:00 PM
Saturday, November 16
Murray State at WKU 2:00 PM
Texas State at TCU 7:00 PM
Sunday, November 17
UT Arlington at UTSA 5:00 PM