Second-Half surge lifts A-State women past Georgia State, 76-65
Sports - ASU Red Wolves (White)
JONESBORO, AR (ASU) – Led by five players scoring in double figures, including junior guard Aundrea Gamble with a game-high 21 points, the Arkansas State women's basketball team claimed a 76-65 Sun Belt Conference victory over Georgia State Monday night at the Convocation Center.
The Red Wolves erased an eight-point halftime deficit to collect their second straight win while also running their overall record to 12-6 and improving to 7-1 in league play. Georgia State fell to 8-9 overall and 3-5 in Sun Belt action with the loss.
A-State junior forward Khadija Brown-Haywood made a career-high four three-point shots and scored 14 of her 18 points in the first half to keep the Red Wolves within striking distance, but Georgia State shot .552 from the field, won the rebounding battle and got 16 points from its bench to build a 37-29 halftime lead.
“This was another game that we were glad to survive,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “We certainly had some struggles. They came into the game playing a really extended defense that we had seen, but didn't have a lot of time to work on it and we got rattled and we were out of sync a little bit. In the second half it was huge to get that run at the first of the half to kind of give our team some life. The defense was better, and we executed better offensively.”
GSU was able to hold its lead for almost eight minutes to start the second half, but A-State began a 12-0 run at the 13:33 mark that ended just over four minutes later with a Jasmine Hunt layup that put the Red Wolves ahead 54-46.
Junior forward Amanda Lawson provided a spark off the bench in the second tied the game with a pair of free throws with 12:01 to go. She got a putback on missed 3-point attempt by Gamble the next trip down the floor to put A-State up 48-46 and then did the same thing on the ensuing offensive possession to put her team up by four.
Lawson's 6-0 run seemed to put energy back into the Red Wolves' bench, after it had struggled to find answers against the Panthers' zone defense for much of the first and second halves.
“That was huge for us,” Boyer said. “Things we didn't get in the first half, like offensive rebounds and stick backs, she got and it was big because if you don't get those rebounds then you are back on defense and it was great lift for our team.”
The Panthers were unable to get closer than six points the rest of the way, and Arkansas State's lead reached as much as 11 on four different occasions, including the final score.
The second half saw the Red Wolves increase their shooting percentage from .393 to .500, while the Panthers' percentage dropped to .400. After attempting just four free throws in the first half, A-State was much more consistent getting to the line as well. The Red Wolves made 17-of-21 free throws following the break and also outrebounded Georgia State 23-13.
Gamble scored at least 20 points for the 11th time this season, including the fifth game in a row. Along with Gamble and Brown-Haywood, senior guard Hanna Qedan (12), and forward's Hunt (11) and Lawson (10) scored in double figures. All of Lawson's 10 points came in the second half, while Hunt recorded nine of her 11 over the final 20 minutes.
Arkansas State was forced to play catchup for much of the half and was forced to contend with the hot shooting hand of the Panthers. Georgia State shot 67 percent (16-of-29) from the field in the opening 20 minutes. A-State committed six turnovers and gave up runs of 12-0, 8-0 and 6-0 to allow Georgia State to build a double-digit lead twice in the half.
The Red Wolves jumped out to a 7-0 lead but Georgia State responded with a 12-0 run of its own to take the lead from A-State. The Panthers got up 25-15 with 6:11 to go in the half, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Gamble and Brown-Haywood got the Red Wolves within 25-21. Brown-Haywood made it an 8-0 run by getting a steal and a layup to get within two points, but Georgia State responded with a 6-0 run to push its lead to 33-23 with 1:55 left in the half. At the time, the Panthers were shooting 80 percent from the field.
Georgia State was led by four players who reached double digits in the scoring column, including Alisha Andrews with a team-high 18 points.
The squad will return to action Thursday, Jan. 22 at Louisiana-Lafayette. The game is set for a 5 p.m. tip-off 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.