ASU Women beat Western Kentucky in overtime thriller
JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) – Jane Morrill's 3-pointer with 18 seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime and Arkansas State went 5-of-6 from the free throw line in overtime as the Red Wolves defeated Western Kentucky 78-75 in overtime Wednesday night in a Sun Belt Conference matchup at the Convocation Center.
The Red Wolves trailed 65-60 with 1:25 remaining in regulation and cut the deficit to 67-64 with 25 seconds to play to setup Morrill's game-tying 3-pointer from the top of the arc. The Lady Toppers had a look at the basket when Kendall Noble took a ‘3' as time expired to send the game into overtime.
In the extra period, the Red Wolves outscored WKU 11-8, including four points on second chance opportunities, to send Arkansas State to its fourth straight victory over the Lady Toppers. The Red Wolves struggled to get defensive stops overtime as it gave up points on every Western Kentucky offensive possession in the period except for the final one.
Arkansas State improved its record to 14-8 overall and 8-2 in the SBC and had won eight out of its last 10 games. Western Kentucky fell to 14-7 overall on the year and 6-4 in the league.
"Western Kentucky really had us on the ropes for most of the night," A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. "We had some players step up and hit some huge shots at big moments and Aundrea Gamble was able to take over a little and what a huge shot from Jane Morrill."
Gamble led A-State with 25 points on the night, including going 11-of-11 from the free throw line. The redshirt sophomore scored 14 points over the game's final 10 minutes (including overtime) and hit all four of her free throws in the extra period to improve A-State's record to 18-3 in overtime games under Coach Boyer.
Hanna Qedan scored 16 points on the night and went 5-of-5 from the free throw line as she and Gamble combined to 16-of-16 from the foul line. Morrill added 13 points to pace three Arkansas State players in double figures. Carlisha Wyatt added a game-high 11 rebounds, while Gamble had seven rebounds and six assists.
The teams went into the halftime break tied at 29-29 after a back-and-forth period. The frame featured five lead changes and five ties and five runs as both teams combined to go on runs of 5-0, 6-0, 9-0 and 6-0.
"It is another win and it cuts this season down to just eight games for us," Boyer said. "The biggest thing this win done is give us the tiebreaker over Western Kentucky and you still expect them to be in the hunt till the very end."
WKU led for most of the second half and held on to its lead for 13:12 until Morrill tied the game. The Lady Toppers led by as many as eight (56-48) with 5:43 to go in regulation and seemed to have an answer for every run the Red Wolves had until the game's final minutes. Gamble and Qedan combined to score 25 of Arkansas State's 38 points in the second half, while Wyatt crashed the glass for eight rebounds.
The Red Wolves took advantage of open shots from beyond the paint in the first half, as Morrill and Brittney Gill each knocked down mid-range jumpers in the first half. Morrill was effective in the early portion of the game and helped A-State jump out to a 14-11 lead. The Lady Toppers responded with a 6-0 run to take a 17-14 lead with 11:13 to play in the first half, but the Red Wolves would not be outdone and went on a 9-0 to take its largest least of the first half 25-19.
Gamble capped the run with a layup with 6:08 to go in the period, but for the remainder of the half and managed just four points in the final six minutes. WKU took advantage of the poor shooting from the Red Wolves and outscored the squad 10-4 to send both teams in the halftime break tied at 29-29.
The game featured nine lead changes and 13 ties, including four ties in the overtime period. A-State outrebounded the Lady Toppers 41-33 and shot 43.4 percent (27-62) from the field. The Red Wolves also shot 73.1 percent (19-26) from the free throw line, including a combined 15-17 in the second half and overtime period.
Arkansas State will return to the road for a match-up with Georgia on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 1 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 (Facebook.com/RedWolvesWBB).