A-State Women’s Basketball Rallies Past Georgia Southern 86-63
JONESBORO, AR (ASU) – The Arkansas State women's basketball team ran its Sun Belt Conference record to 4-0 with an 86-63 victory over Georgia Southern Thursday night at the Convocation Center.
The Red Wolves picked up their sixth victory over their last seven games, improving their overall record to 9-5. A-State now stands 5-1 at home this season as well, while Georgia Southern fell to 3-9 overall and 0-3 in league play.
Junior guard Aundrea Gamble scored a game-high 23 points and senior forward Jasmine Hunt collected her first career double-double to lead the Red Wolves. Hunt pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds to go along with 17 points, which were just two shy of her career-best total.
Arkansas State improved its field goal percentage from .469 in the first half to .576 in the second, while also holding Georgia Southern to a lower shooting percentage over the game's final 20 minutes to turn a two-point halftime lead into its fourth straight double-digit victory.
“We had a really good second half after we had some struggles in the first half,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “I think this was another case where a team had a week to prepare and did some things that caught us a little bit off guard, but I think more than that we were a little bit of our own worst enemy at times in the first half, but we got to halftime and regrouped and made a huge push.”
The Red Wolves actually trailed 41-39 almost a full two minutes into the second half, but went on a 15-4 run to take a 13-point advantage with 12:59 left in the game. The Eagles were able to pull back within eight points less than a minute later, but couldn't get any closer as the Red Wolves answered with a 9-0 run to take control.
Turnovers played a key role in A-State's victory, especially in the second half. After turning the ball over 10 times in the opening period, the Red Wolves limited their mistakes to just four in the second half and took advantage of 17 Mavericks' miscues in the game to start league with four straight wins for the second consecutive year.
“The turnovers were big in the first half,” Boyer said. “To turn it over 10 times in a half is not like us, but we were able to get that under control and then to really take care of the ball the way we did in the second half led to us getting some good looks offensively.”
The Red Wolves finished the game with a .523 field goal percentage in comparison to Georgia Southern's .429, and they also made 7-of-15 three-point attempts while holding the Eagles to a .227 mark from beyond the arc.
A-State was more effective at the free throw line as well, hitting 11-of-16 attempts while Georgia Southern took just seven free throws total. Led by Hunt and three other players with at least five rebounds, A-State finished the game with a plus-9 advantage on the boards.
Joining Gamble and Hunt with a double-figure points total for A-State were junior forward Khadija Brown-Haywood and senior guard Hannah Qedan with 16 and 11 points, respectively. Georgia Southern was led by Anna Claire Knight with 14 points and nine rebounds, both team highs.
A-State jumped out to a 5-0 lead to start the game, but that was the largest advantage by either team in a tightly-contested first half that featured eight lead changes and seven ties. The seventh tie came with 1:18 left in the opening half, but the Red Wolves scored four of the final six points to take a 37-35 lead into the break.
The squad will return to action Saturday, Jan. 10 at UT Arlington. The game is set for a 5 p.m. tip and can be heard live on 95.3FM The Ticket/970AM KNEA or online at AStateRedWolves.com.
Tickets for the 2014-15 campaign are on sale and be purchases online at tickets.astate.edu or by calling the A-State Ticket Office at 1-888-ASUFANS.