JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) – Sophomore forward Jalen O'Bannon recorded her second double-double of the season and four Arkansas State players scored in double figures, including senior forward Jane Morrill with a game-high 20 points, to lead the Red Wolves to a 74-65 victory over Troy in a Sun Belt Conference women's basketball game Wednesday night at the Convocation Center.
The Red Wolves improved to 9-6 overall and ran their Sun Belt record to 3-0 for the first time since 2006-07 season. A-State, which has won five of its last six games, also improved to 4-1 at the Convo to begin a three-game home stand. Troy fell to 4-10 overall and 0-3 in league play with the setback.
A-State trailed 31-30 at halftime and was outscored 10-2 over the second half's first two minutes to fall behind 41-32, but responded with a 7-0 run to pull back within 41-39 with 15:56 left in the contest. A-State took a 47-46 advantage, its first of the second half, on a tip-in by O'Bannon at the 12:32 mark and took the lead for good almost five minutes later when a layup by junior guard Hannah Qedan made the score 54-53.
The bucket by Qedan began an 11-4 run by the Red Wolves to extend their lead to 65-57 with just over four minutes left and Troy was unable to make it a one-possession game the rest of the way. The Trojans got as close as 65-61 with 2:23 to play, but sophomore guard Andrea Gamble hit her only three-point bucket of the game shortly after to help the Red Wolves end the night on a 9-4 run.
"I thought defensively we were pretty good tonight start to finish," A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. "I'll take that defensive effort against this team, to be able to hold them in the 60s. I was disappointed in the first half offensively. I thought we were very casual, entirely too many turnovers and just not finishing shots that we needed to finish. We had some opportunities to have a decent lead at half and we let those slip away with some pretty casual offense. Bad start to the second half. We responded greatly though, like we so far have done this year."
Morrill led the Red Wolves in scoring for the third time this season and her 20 points were her third highest total of the season. Qedan and Gamble both scored 14 points and O'Bannon added 10 to join Morrill as A-State players reaching double figures. O'Bannon also recorded a career-high five steals and pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds, helping A-State claim a 46-33 advantage on the boards.
Troy posted a .433 shooting percentage to Arkansas State's .409, but the Red Wolves connected on 50 percent of its attempts over the final 20 minutes to complete the comeback victory. The Red Wolves also hit 78.9 percent of its free throws, in comparison to the Trojans' .588 percentage from the charity stripe.
Arkansas State jumped out to an 18-9 lead nearly midway through the first half, but the next five minutes saw Troy go on a 14-4 run to take its first lead of the game at 23-22. The remaining 6:53 in the first half went back-and forth with neither team taking more than a three-point lead.
A-State returns to the Convocation Center Jan. 11 for a matchup with South Alabama and live audio of the game can be heard at AStateRedWolves.com. For in-game updates follow @AStateGameDay on Twitter and stay up to date with A-State women's basketball team by following them on Twitter (@AStateWB), Instagram (AStateWBB) and Facebook (Facebook.com/RedWolvesWBB).