Second Half Rally propels A-State Women's Basketball to Win

Second Half Rally propels A-State Women's Basketball to Win

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. ( – Arkansas State erased a 10 point second half deficit and shot a season-high 59.6 percent from the field to defeat Missouri State 78-62 in women's basketball Friday night at the JQH Arena.

Five Red Wolves (5-4) scored in double-figures led by junior guard Aundrea Gamble's 22 points, 17 of which came in the second half. Hanna Qedan added 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including three, 3-pointers, while Khadija Brown-Haywood, Jasmine Hunt and Brittney Gill all finished with 12 points each.

A-State trailed 51-41 with just over 18 minutes remaining, but went on a 13-0 run to take a 44-41 lead with 12:29 left. Gamble sparked the run with a pull up jumper in the paint and Qedan gave the Red Wolves a one point lead after a 3-pointer. The Lady Bears turned the ball on the offensive end and Hunt got a layup on the other end to put A-State up by three points.

Arkansas State was active defensively all night, but made its greatest impact during its drive to regain the lead. Missouri State committed six turnovers during a five minute span and went 0-for-5 from the field to allow A-State to get back into the game.

“I am really proud of this team and the way they were able to come back tonight,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “The biggest thing was that there were some very specific mistakes we were making that was allowing them to score and we were finally we were able to get some stops and regain the lead. They had shown that they could go through some scoring droughts and we talked about as long we could hang in there we thought they might go through one of those droughts and when they did we were ready to take advantage of it.”

The Lady Bears briefly took the lead back at 45-44 (11:34) and again at 47-45 (11:05) but the Red Wolves responded with a 9-0 run to push its lead to 54-47 after a 3-pointer by Qedan with 9:01 to go. The lead grew 65-54 with over four minutes to go and Arkansas State sealed the game by going 8-for-8 from the free throw line over the final two minutes.

“We have to make free throws to win ball games,” Boyer said. “We hit them when we needed it helped when (Amanda) Lawson hit one to get it to a 10 point lead and then we got into the hands of Hanna Qedan and she hit and I think everyone kind of relaxed after that.”

Gill finished in double figures for the second straight game and was very active on the defensive end. She was the cause of several Missouri State turnovers and got her hands on passes that led to steals by her teammates.

Arkansas State led 24-14 with 8:37 to go in the first half, but went cold from the field after from that point as the Bears finished on a 23-7 run. Kenzie Williams scored 12 points in the half on 3-of-6 shooting, including a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line.

The Lady Bears used a 9-0 run to get within 24-23 with 6:09 to play in the game and then ended the half on a 7-0 run to take a 37-31 lead into the halftime break. A-State looked out of sync for much of the final 10 minutes of the period and committed six of their nine turnovers in the alf during the span.

The Red Wolves started the game by torching the nets and draining six of its first eight shots, aided by a pair of steals from Gamble, to take an early 9-4 lead, but Missouri State responded with a 6-0 run to take a 10-9 lead at the first media timeout.

Arkansas State turned the ball over four times during the Bears' run before Brown-Haywood put the Red Wolves back on top with a pull up jumper. The junior from Centralia, Ill., had a strong first half and started the night by hitting her first three shots from the field. Hunt also turned a solid first half and was the recipient of lob passes over Missouri State's defense in the paint for easy turnaround layups. Hunt also got her hands on a steal and got ahead of the defense for an easy outlet pass from Brittney Gill to capped a 6-0 run that gave A-State an early 19-12 advantage.

Arkansas State shots its highest field goal percentage of the season, 59.6 percent, on 31-of-52 shooting from the field and was 5-of-14 (35.7 percent) from behind the 3-point line. The Red Wolves were 11-of-22 (50 percent) from the free throw line and outscored the Lady Bears 36-24 in the paint. Missouri State committed 23 turnovers and the Red Wolves scored 35 points off those turnovers while limiting themselves to just 15 mistakes on the evening.

Arkansas State returns home for the first time in three weeks to take on Florida Gulf Coast on Monday, Dec. 22 at 7:05 p.m. at the Convocation Center. It will be “Bring You ‘A' Game” night with all youth in the eighth grade and younger getting for $3 when they shot a report card with all A's and B's. It will also by “Christmas Tacky Sweater Night,” with all fans who wear a sweater to the game receiving a free box of popcorn.