LAFAYETTE, La. (AStateRedWolves.com) – Arkansas State led by one with 17 seconds to play, but Louisiana-Lafayette converted a 3-point play opportunity and the Red Wolves made just 1-of-2 foul shots with 0.1 second on the clock to fall to the Ragin' Cajuns 77-76 in a Sun Belt Conference clash at the Cajun Dome Saturday night.
The lead changed hands 17 times in the second half, but the Red Wolves appeared to have taken control of the game when Jane Morrill scored on a layup underneath the basket with 17 seconds to go to put Arkansas State up 75-74. Louisiana-Lafayette answered with six seconds to go when Brooklyn Arceneaux scored on a jumper and was fouled. She made the free throw to put the Ragin' Cajuns up 77-75.
A-State (16-9, 10-3 SBC) dribbled the ball down the court and freshman guard Jamie Ruffins drove into the paint and drew a foul as time expired. After a review, officials determined that the foul occurred with 0.1 seconds left on the clock, but Ruffins was injured on the play and sophomore Jessica Flanery subbed in to take the free throws. She made the first, but missed the second as the Red Wolves suffered just their second conference road loss of the year.
"We had a good stretch defensively in the first half, but really for most of the game we did not defend all that well and we've had to try and outscore people several times this year and today was just a circumstance that we just couldn't do it," A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. "Lafayette is tough matchup for us and we just couldn't stay in front of them."
Each team put together small runs in the second half to recapture the lead but the biggest lead for either team was five points. The Ragin' Cajuns (11-12, 4-8) went on an 8-2 run to take a 42-41 lead with under 17 minutes to play, but A-State battled back and went up 49-48 with 12:22 to go, but ULL responded with a 6-0 run to push the lead to 54-49.
Aundrea Gamble went on a 7-0 spurt, including a 3-pointer, to go up 56-54, but the lead would change sides 12 more times over the final eight minutes. The Ragin' Cajuns shot 63 percent from the field in the second half and finished with a 52.6 mark for the game while A-State had a 42.2 field goal percentage.
Gamble led all scored with 24 points and six rebounds, while Morrill finished with 16 points and four boards. Jalen O'Bannon recorded a double-double for the third straight game with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while also blocking two shots and dishing out three assists.
The Ragin' Cajuns jumped out to an early 14-6 lead in the first half, but A-State responded with a 16-2 run to take a 22-16 lead with 7:56 to go in the half. Gamble provided much of the offense during the run after going 4-of-4 from the free throw line and adding a layup. As a team, the Red Wolves were 6-of-6 from the foul line during the run and took advantages of size in the paint.
Morrill added eight points for Arkansas State in the first half on 4-of-7 shooting, while Carlisha Wyatt also used her size to post up her defender in the paint. The Red Wolves score 22 of their 37 first half points in the paint and went 13-of-18 from the free throw line in the first half.
A-State held its biggest lead of the first half at 36-27 after a layup from Morrill, but ULL closed the deficit to 37-32 when Jaylyn Gordon drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it a five-point ball at the break.
The loss drops Arkansas State's lead to just a half game in the Sun Belt Conference standings in front of Texas State who stands at 9-3 in the play. The Bobcats will visit the Convocation Center Saturday, Feb. 22 which also serve as A-State's ‘Play 4Kay' pink game,
Arkansas State will first return to the Convocation Center for a matchup with UT Arlington on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 7:05 p.m. For in-game updates follow @AStateGameDay on Twitter and stay up to date with A-State women's basketball by following the team on Twitter (@AStateWB), Instagram (AStateWBB) and Facebook (Facebook.com/RedWolvesWBB).