JONESBORO, AR (ASU) — The Arkansas State women's basketball team opened the 2014-15 regular season with an impressive 92-60 victory over Jackson State in the opening round of the Preseason WNIT Friday night at the Convocation Center.
A-State advances to the second round and will play Mississippi State Sunday in Starkville, Miss., at 6 p.m. at Humphrey Coliseum.
Four Red Wolves scored in double-figures including Preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and All-America candidate Aundrea Gamble, who paced the team with 15 points and nine rebounds. Hanna Qedan chimed in with 11 points, Amanda Lawson added 12 and Khadija Brown-Haywood had 10 points and three steals in the first start of her career.
A-State jumped out to a 25-6 lead midway through the first half, led by 29 at the break, and withstood a small charge by the Lady Tigers at the start of the second half to roll to a convincing win to start the year.
Arkansas State coach Brian Boyer, who is entering his sixteenth year, was pleased with his team's performance and the fast and physical pace they showed to start the game.
“This time of the year everybody looks good on film and I am still not pleased with the way that we are practicing and so there is still some concern there but from my standpoint I was pleasantly surprised that our energy was good,” Boyer said. “I thought we paid attention to the details that we talked about with this team in shootaround and in the film room last night so I was pleased with it.”
Coming off the bench in her first official game at A-State, Lawson provided an all-around solid game. The redshirt junior added four rebounds to go along with 5-of-10 shooting and also had a steal. She did most of her damage in the first half and scored all 12 of her points in the opening frame, most of which came on easy layups or jump shots in the paint.
Gamble and Brittney Gill narrowly missed recording double-doubles on the night. Gamble grabbed nine rebounds and dished out three assists, while Gill finished with nine points and nine rebounds and was an active force on defense. Brown-Haywood continued her solid start to the year with a 10-point, three rebound and one steal performance.
Arkansas State dominated the Lady Tigers with a physical presence in the paint and outscored the squad 58-26, with the post players contributing 32 points for A-State. On the defensive end, Jackson State committed 25 turnovers that led to 32 points on the offensive end for A-State. On the flip side, the Red Wolves committed just seven turnovers in the first half and shot 51.6 percent (33-64) from the field.
“I was extremely pleased with the first half,” Boyer said. “Defensively, I was pretty critical and not very happy with our defense Monday night and tonight was certainly a different story. Tonight was very good defensively and with around six minutes to go we held them to 11 points so obviously it was very good on the defensive side.”
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