ASU falls to #11 North Carolina in Cancun Challenge opener

RIVIERA MAYA, Mexico. ( — The Arkansas State women's basketball team fell to the 11th ranked North Carolina Tar Heels 93-60 in the opening game of the Cancun Challenge Tournament presented by Triple Crown Sports Thanksgiving afternoon at the Hard Rock Resort Convention Center Court.

The Tar Heels led from start to finish as A-State (4-2) trailed for first time in two games and suffered its worst defeat of the young season. Jalen O'Bannon led the Red Wolves 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting while Aundrea Gamble had with eight rebounds to go along eight points.

"The first eight to ten minutes I was very impressed with our competitiveness and the things we were doing," A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. "We just couldn't finish on some shots and then things started snowballing somewhat and we never could get it headed back in the right direction."

North Carolina (5-1) jumped out to a 12-4 advantage in the game's first four minutes as the Red Wolves struggled to keep pace with the Tar Heels size and speed. The deficit grew to 18-8 with 12:31 to go in the first half Arkansas State went 3-of-14 from the field in the first eight minutes.

At halftime North Carolina had led 50-21 lead thanks to a 62 shooting percentage clip, while A-State managed just a 15.6 percentage from the field in the first half.

North Carolina extended the advantage to 39 points by opening the second half on a 15-5 run and held its largest lead of the afternoon at 77-32 with 9:26 to go in the game. A-State responded with a 7-0 spurt to cut the advantage to 87-49 with less than five minutes to play and ended the game with eight straight points to set the final.

The Red Wolves finished with a 25.7 shooting percentage and hits 66 percent of its free throws while outrebounding the Tar Heels by one on the boards (39-38). A-State also had seven steals in the game, including a career-high three from Gamble.

Jane Morrill and Jamie Ruffins each had eight points on the afternoon and Jessica Flanery knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and finished with six points.

Diamond DeShields led North Carolina with 24 points and Stehpanie Mavunga had 10 rebounds.

The Red Wolves continue their trip Cancun, Mexico Friday with a match-up against Illinois at 2:30 p.m. For in-game updates follow @AStateGameDay on Twitter and stay up to date with the A-State women's basketball team by following them on Twitter at @AStateWB.