A-State Women's Basketball suffers 70-69 setback at Appalachian State

A-State Women's Basketball suffers 70-69 setback at Appalachian State
BOONE, NC (astateredwolves.com) – Appalachian State's Bria Huffman scored the go-ahead basket with eight seconds to go and Aundrea Gamble's layup attempt at the other end was blocked as time expired as Arkansas State suffered its first loss in the Sun Belt Conference with a 70-69 setback Thursday evening.

The Red Wolves (10-6, 5-1 Sun Belt) led 61-47 with 7:37 to go, but watched as its lead slowly slipped away over the final seven minutes. Appalachian State's (8-6, 3-2 SBC) Katie Mallow knocked down three straight, 3-pointers to get within 65-58 and Maryah Sydnor hit a pair of free throws with 1:28 to cut the A-State deficit to 68-66.

The Red Wolves turned the ball over on the ensuing trip down the floor and Mallow got an easy layup on a run out to tie the game with just over a minute remaining. Jamie Ruffins converted on 1-of-2 free throws attempts with 32 seconds to go, but Huffman followed a Mallow miss with eight seconds left to give the Mountaineers the win.

“We knew all the along that Appalachian State is one of the best, if not the best, scoring team in the league and they weren't going to go away,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “We went into a stretch where we just could not get stops and what is worse is how many offensive rebounds we gave up in the second half and if you give a team that many chances on the offensive end they will come in and bite you.”

Gamble finished with a team-high 21 points and dished eight assists on the night. She also grabbed five boards and had two steals. Lauren Bradshaw scored a career-high 10 points and also pulled down five rebounds, while Khadija Brown-Haywood finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.

A-State closed the first half on a 7-0 run to take 37-26 lead at halftime and scored the four points of the second half to push its lead to 41-26. The Mountaineers went on a 6-0 run to get deficit down to single digits at 49-40 with 12:56 left, but A-State responded with an 8-2 spurt to push the advantage back to 57-42 with just over 10 minutes remaining, but the Mountaineers slowly chipped at the lead and wore down the Red Wolves on both ends of the court.

“When it got tough tonight we just could not get the stops we needed,” Boyer said. “We gave up three wide open looks to their best shooter and then just couldn't get rebounds down the stretch when we needed them.”

The Red Wolves got off to a slow start and fell behind 11-5 after the first media timeout, but Brittney Gill gave the team a shot of energy by knocking down a 3-pointer and then forced a turnover on the defensive end. Over a five minute span the redshirt junior scored five points and grabbed three rebounds to inject life back into the Red Wolves on both ends of the court.

A-State used Gill's energy and went on a 9-0 rub to retake the lead at 23-18 with 7:25 to go in the half. Gamble scored four points in during the run and finished with 10 in the half. Arkansas State ended the half on a 7-0 spurt that included four points from Bradshaw. The true freshman set a new career-high with eight points in the opening frame and also pulled down four rebounds.

Arkansas State knocked down 27-of-62 (43.5 percent) of its shot attempts on the night, but went 11-of-20 (55 percent) from the free throw, while the Mountaineers were 9-of-10 (90 percent) from the foul line. Appalachian State also outrebounded the Red Wolves 45-38 on the night, while the A-State bench outscored App State 24-11.

The squad will return to action Saturday, Jan. 17 in a nationally televised game on ESPN3 against Texas State. The game is set for a 3 p.m. tip-off and can be heard live on 95.3FM The Ticket/970AM KNEA or online at