A-State Women's Basketball wins in overtime at Texas-Arlington
ARLINGTON, TX (astateredwolves.com) – The Arkansas State women's basketball team won its fifth straight in Sun Belt Conference play with a thrilling 80-77 overtime victory over Texas-Arlington Saturday at the College Park Center.
In the overtime period, the Red Wolves (10-5, 5-0 Sun Belt) outscored the Mavericks 11-8 and held off a 3-point attempt at the buzzer by Chaun Williams to hold on for the win. Both teams traded buckets to start the period, but a 3-pointer by Hanna Qedan gave A-State a 74-73 lead with three minutes to go. It became a 3-point advantage after a pair of free throws by Aundrea Gamble, but the Mavericks tied the game at 76-all on a 3-pointer by LaShanda Green.
Khadija Brown-Haywood put A-State out-in-front with a 3-pointer and Gamble pushed it to a 80-76 advantage with a free throw with 1:02 to play. UTA's Amara Wainwright cut the deficit to three points with a free throw and the Mavericks had a chance to tie the game on a 3-point try by Williams but Brown-Haywood blocked the shot with 1.2 seconds left on the clock. The Mavericks (8-6, 2-3 SBC) got one more look to tie the game, but Williams' try bounced off the rim to improve A-State to 5-0 in Sun Belt play for the first time since 2006-07.
“We got a little lucky tonight,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “We had an amazing first half and we were about as good as we could possibly be. Defensively we were all over the place and offensively we were very efficient, but it almost too good to be true and we came out in the second half and didn't have the same burst and energy. They made a huge adjustment and we didn't react to it very well and five minutes they made a huge run and we were lucky to get out of here with a win.”
Gamble scored a career-high 33 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the year. Brown-Haywood also finished in double-figures with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Qedan had 11 point. Jasmine Hunt finished in double-figures with 10 points and grabbed eight boards.
After leading by 15 in the first half, the Red Wolves saw their lead slowly shrink in the second period and eventually fell behind 69-62 with 2:43 remaining, but the Arkansas State scored the final seven point in regulation to tie the game at 69-69 and UTA missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
UTA held a 69-62 lead with 2:43 remaining, but Brittney Gill hit 1-of-2 free throws and Hunt got a put back to get within two. Qedan tied the game with a runner in the lane with 10 seconds to go and UTA missed a shot at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime.
“Part of my frustration was that we knew a run was coming, but we just didn't handle it very well,” Boyer said. “We also know they would start doubling Gamble and we didn't handle that very well either and all of that led to them getting back into the game, but sometimes it's just good to have the best player in the league, in my opinion, on your team and she really carried us at the end of the game and in overtime.”
UTA lead 11-9 with 12:56 to go in the first half after a 7-0 got them to that point, but Gamble and the Red Wolves outscored the Mavericks 33-18 for the remainder of the half, 20 of which came from Gamble, to take a 13 point lead into the break.
Gamble tied a career-high with 22 first half points, none more impressive than her final points of half when she dribbled the shot down to eight seconds and then blew by the UTA defense for easy layup. She also added six rebounds on 8-of-12 shooting, including two 3-pointers, and was 4-of-5 from the free throw line.
Arkansas State jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead to start the game, but the Mavericks responded with a 7-0 run of their own to go up 11-9. A-State responded with a 7-0 run of its own to take a 16-11 lead with 10:17 to go in the half and the lead grew to 29-19 with 5:29 to go in the half. The Red Wolves held their largest lead of the half at 40-25 after a pair of free throws by Jasmine Hunt with 2:41 left and took a 42-29 lead into the locker room.
A-State has now won 14 out of its last 16 overtime games and Coach Boyer improved to 16-6 all-time in overtime games. It is the second straight season that A-State has won an overtime game and its fourth straight victory in extra time.
The squad will return to action Thursday, Jan. 15 at Appalachian State. The game is set for a 4 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.