NEW ORLEANS (SunBeltSports.org) - The Arkansas State Red Wolves earned the top seed in next week's 2014 Sun Belt Conference Basketball Championships presented by First Bank and Trust after defeating the UL Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns on Saturday, 90-49.
Tournament action runs Wednesday, March 12 through Saturday, March 15, culminating with Saturday night's championship game scheduled for 8:00 p.m. CT on ESPN3. All games will be played at Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, La. with the winner of the eight-team tournament moving onto the NCAA tournament to represent the conference.
The win gave the Red Wolves the outright SBC regular season title after finishing the 2013-14 campaign 20-10 overall and 14-4 in league play.
A-State will face eighth-seeded UL Monroe (11-19, 7-11 SBC) at 12:00 p.m. CT in the first game of Wednesday's opening round. A-State swept ULM this season with the most recent win coming on March 5.
WKU earned the No. 2 seed in the tournament and will face seventh-seeded UL Lafayette (14-15, 7-11 SBC) on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. The Lady Toppers are one of the hottest teams in the league as they have won seven consecutive games dating back to Feb. 12.
The Lady Toppers and Ragin' Cajuns faced off against each other on March 5 with the Lady Toppers prevailing 80-71.
Third-seeded UALR (17-11, 12-6 SBC) will take on sixth-seeded Troy (12-17, 8-10 SBC) in the final game of Wednesday's opening round at 8:30 p.m. CT. UALR and Troy split their season series with the Trojans of Troy claiming a victory in their most recent contest on Feb. 26.
UALR enters the tournament riding a three-game winning streak.
Texas State (15-14, 12-6 SBC) earned the fourth seed in the tournament and they will take on fifth-seeded Georgia State (12-18, 8-10 SBC) at 2:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday.
The Bobcats came from behind late in the second half to defeat Troy on Saturday, March 8 to preserve their winning streak which now sits at three games, including a 54-47 win over the Panthers on March 1.
The winners from Wednesday's opening round will have a day off before hitting the court again on Friday, March 14 as the winners in the two early games will face-off against each other at 12:00 p.m. CT and the winners of the two late games on Wednesday will hit the court at 2:30 p.m. CT. All of Friday's women's action will be televised live on the Sun Belt Network and WatchESPN. Local blackout rules apply.
In addition, the tournament will be streamed live via webcast and fans can also follow along via Twitter (@The_Sun_Belt) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/SunBeltConference). Game Results, photos and more can be found on our Championship Central page for men's basketball at www.SunBeltSports.org.
Week 18 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week
Aundrea Gamble (Arkansas State, Sophomore, Guard)
Sophomore forward Aundrea Gamble enjoyed one of the best weeks of her super sophomore season as she averaged 23.5 points across two games to help Arkansas State secure its first ever regular-season Sun Belt Conference championship. Gamble dropped 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting, including a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line, in A-State's 107-57 victory over ULM on Wednesday. She had 11 points at halftime and had doubled the total to 22 at the first media timeout of the second half. It was the third 30 point game of the year for Gamble, who ranks third among active players in the SBC in career 30-point games. Gamble scored 19 points in just 13 minutes in the second half against ULM and finished the night with 7 assists and five rebounds as the Red Wolves assured themselves at least a share of the regular-season title that night. On Saturday, she followed with her second double-double of the year by scoring 17 points and dishing out 10 assists as A-State secured the regular-season title outright with a victory over the Ragin' Cajuns. She narrowly missed recording just the second triple-double in school history by two rebounds.