ASU Women suffer first Sun Belt road setback

Troy, Ala. ( – Arkansas State senior forward Jane Morrill became the 13th player to accumulate 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career but her effort was not enough as the Red Wolves suffered their first Sun Belt Conference road loss of the year in an 83-65 setback against Troy Saturday afternoon at Trojan arena.

Morrill finished the game with six points and six rebounds, giving her 1,354 points and 502 rebounds in her four-year career at A-State. Jalen O'Bannon led the team with 12 points and nine rebounds. Hanna Qedan and Aundrea Gamble scored 10 points each in the loss.

"They went to a zone which was not surprising but it was really good and they extended out on Aundrea and Hanna and we didn't handle it well early on," A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. "The big problem was that we got so worried about the zone that we didn't stop them on defense and they scored in the first half and things just snowballed on us."

Troy built its lead in the first half thanks to a hot hand from beyond the arch. The Trojans knocked down 64 percent (7-of-11) of its attempts including five triples from Joanna Harden. Overall the Trojans shot 41.2 percent (14-of-34) from the field, while A-State converted on just 32.4 percent (11-of-34) of its attempts from the field.

O'Bannon came up big on the glass for the Red Wolves in the first half, grabbing nine rebounds including eight on the defensive end. She was also the team's leading scorer at the half with six points.

Morrill added five points and five rebounds in the first but it wasn't enough as Troy built a 15 point lead (34-19) with 4:28 to go in the half. Arkansas State managed to cut the lead to 38-28 with seven second to go in the half after a Gamble free throw, but Troy hit two free throws with less than one second to go to set the halftime score at 40-28.

"It felt like we were just in two different gears today," Boyer said. "We felt like we were chasing them the whole day and that's their style and we allowed them to play it."

In the second half, Arkansas State battled and managed to just cut the deficit to 10 points on three separate occasions, but failed to pull within in single digits at any points in the final frame. The Red Wolves appeared to be gaining momentum after Gamble knocked down a 3-pointer to pull within 46-36 with 16:28 to play, but Troy responded with back-to-back baskets to quell any hopes of a rally.

A-State got within 50-40 with 14:33 to go and then 52-42 after a Qedan layup, but the Trojans gradually continued to grow their lead after that and held its largest lead at 76-52 with 5:45 to play.

Despite the loss, A-State maintained sole possession of first-place at the end of the night after both Western Kentucky and Georgia State also suffered losses.

Arkansas State will return to the Convocation Center for a matchup with Western Kentucky on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 7:05 p.m. 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 (