BOULDER, CO (ASU) – Aundrea Gamble tied a career-high with 30 points, but Colorado was paced by four players in double-figures to hand Arkansas State an 80-69 loss Saturday night at the Coors Event Center in the final game of the Preseason WNIT for both squads.
Gamble combined with Amanda Lawson and Jasmine Hunt to score all 35 of A-State's (1-2) points in the second half, but the Buffaloes (2-1) were able to crash the boards and get key defensive stops at crucial moments to escape with the 11-point victory. Both Hunt and Lawson had 15 points and each scored 10 in the second half.
“We dug ourselves a hole early in this game and a lot of was of our on doing,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “I was proud of the group because the kept battling and made a run to get it within two at halftime, but ultimately couldn't overcome the early deficit was put ourselves in.”
Colorado never trailed in the final 20 minutes but A-State pushed the Buffaloes to the brink on several trips down the floor. Hunt tied the game at 36-36 with six straight points coming out of the locker room and after trading baskets, Colorado went a 6-0 run to take a 52-44 lead.
Gamble converted an and-1 play to get within 55-52 with 10:14 remaining, but Lauren Huggins sparked a 9-0 run with a 3-pointer from the right corner to push the lead to 62-55. The Buffaloes took advantage of their size underneath the basket and held a 42-33 edge on the boards. The biggest discrepancy came on the defensive glass where the Buffs outrebounded A-State 32-18.
Arkansas State managed to get the deficit down to eight at 74-66 with 3:45 to play, but could get no closer and Colorado pulled away late for the 11-point victory.
“We are still depending too much on our offense and we couldn't string together stops when we needed two or three in a row,” Boyer said. “Even at the end we would get the stop, but they would get the offensive rebound and get a stick back and just didn't finish the plays when we needed to.”
The first half featured big runs by both teams, but A-State made the biggest noise with a 15-4 run to close out the half. Colorado led 32-19 with 5:47 to go, but Gamble hit a pull-up jumper to score the first of five straight points by the redshirt junior. The Buffaloes got a layup with 2:41 left, but the Red Wolves responded with a 7-0 run over the next 1:31 to get within 34-31 with a minute to go.
Colorado hit a pair of free throws to push the lead to five, but Khadija Brown-Haywood drained a 3-pointer from the corner as time expired to get Arkansas State within 36-34 at halftime.
Gamble led all scorers in the first half with 15 points. The McKinney, Texas native found success by penetrating into the paint and then taking a step back for an open jumper. Lawson and Hunt had five points, while Lauren Bradshaw scored four in early in the game despite a slow a start by the Red Wolves.
For Colorado, Haley Smith and Jamee Swan scored 16 points each, while Jen Reese scored 12 and Lexy Kresl finished with 10. The Buffaloes also went 22-of-29 (75 percent) from the free throw line, while the Red Wolves were 20-of-33 (60 percent). A-State outscored the Buffs 32-26 in the paint and got 25 points off 20 Colorado turnovers.
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