JONESBORO, AR (ASU) – The Arkansas State women's basketball team concluded the non-conference portion of its regular-season schedule Monday night with a narrow 74-68 setback against Florida Gulf Coast at the Convocation Center.
The Red Wolves (5-5) had its nine-game home winning streak snapped, while the Eagles (10-2) collected their fourth straight victory.
A-State was led by junior guard Aundrea Gamble with 23 points and 12 rebounds, both game highs, to collect her first double-double of the season. She was joined in double figures by Hanna Qedan with 10 points, although the senior guard scored all 10 in the first half.
The Red Wolves bench outscored the Eagles' reserves 22-11, but all five FGCU starters, including junior guard Kaneisha Atwater with a team-high 18 points reached double figures. She scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half to lead the Eagles back from a 34-29 halftime deficit.
“I'm proud of my team and we knew coming into this that this was a really good Florida Gulf Coast team from the results and success they have had this year and I'm proud of my team for the way we responded against them,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “The defensive effort in the first half was just tremendous and the way we battled to hold them to 29 points in the opening 20 minutes was great. We never really go them under control in the second half which is disappointing, but a lot of good things happened tonight and the only real criticism was what we had too many turnovers, but other than that I thought we played a really good game.”
A-State, which held its largest lead of the game at 26-18 with 5:06 left in the first half, scored on its first possession of the second half to go ahead by seven. However, FGCU went on a 16-4 run over the following five minutes to take a 45-40 lead.
The Eagles maintained their lead until the 7:03 mark when Gamble hit a pair of free throws to give the Red Wolves a 59-58 advantage. Continuing to go back-and-forth, the score was tied 65-65 with 1:50 to play when FGCU began a 6-0 run to take the lead for good.
Junior forward Khadija Brown-Haywood was fouled on a layup and converted a three-point play to pull the Red Wolves back within three, 71-68, with 26 seconds remaining, but FGCU hit 3-of-4 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Both teams improved their field goal percentage in the second half as A-State finished with a .458 mark and FGCU a .467 percentage. While only one foul separated the two team's totals, the Red Wolves hit 19-of-22 shots at the charity stripe while the Eagles made 9-of-13 attempts.
Gamble tied the Convocation Center record for free throw percentage in a game, making 13-of-13 attempts. The previous high for most free throws made while shooting 100 percent was 11. Gamble's 12 rebounds were also only one shy of her career high and helped give A-State a 37-24 advantage on the boards.
Trailing 11-10 eight minutes into the contest, Arkansas State went on a 7-0 run to take a lead it would hold the remainder of the first half. The Red Wolves held a 34-27 advantage with 1:22 left in the half, but FGCU hit a pair of free throws with 36 second remaining to set the halftime score.
Arkansas State returns to action and opens Sun Belt Conference play Dec. 30 at South Alabama. The game is set for a 5:05 p.m. tip and can be heard live on 95.3FM The Ticket/970AM KNEA or online at
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