Hunt's Double-Double carries A-State to victory over USA
JONESBORO, AR (ASU) – The Arkansas State women's basketball team secured the No. 2 overall seed heading into next week's Sun Belt Conference Championship tournament with a 70-60 victory over South Alabama Thursday evening at the Convocation Center.
Jasmine Hunt finished just three points off a career-high with 20 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds for her third career double-double. Aundrea Gamble chipped in with 18 points and seven assists, while Khadija Brown-Haywood and Hanna Qedan finished with 13 points each.
With the victory A-State improved to 20-9 overall and 15-4 in the Sun Belt Conference. It is just the third 20-win regular season in school history and the first time that the Red Wolves have won 20 games in the regular season in back-to-back years. The school record for most victories in a single season is 21, which was set during the 1992-93 season.
“We still have a lot of things at stake to play for,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “I told the team in the locker room that a lot of teams would love to have that and to have a chance to tie a school record with 21 regular season wins is a big deal and we still have some discussions of getting an NCAA at-large if it comes to that. We weathered the loss at Texas State from an RPI standpoint but we just can't let it slip anymore.
An 11-0 run midway through the first half helped the Red Wolves build a 20-13 lead behind a strong start by Gamble. The redshirt junior knocked down her first four shots from the field and led all scorers with nine points in the half. Qedan added eight points on 3-of-6 shooting and finished the opening frame with an 18-8 edge in points in the paint.
A-State held South Alabama to just 21 points in the first half with 3:47 left to go in the half, but the Jaguars finished with a 10-3 run to get within 34-31 at halftime. The Red Wolves quickly pushed the advantage to 10 points with a 7-0 spurt to open the second half and held their largest lead of the half at 54-42 after Hunt followed her own miss to put A-State up 12 with 14:03 left.
South Alabama bounced back with 11-2 run to cut the deficit 56-53 after Breanna Hall knocked down and open jump shot from the top of the key with 5:24 left to go. A-State scored on a layup by Brown-Haywood on the ensuing possession, but Hall answered right back with a pair of free throws to keep the Jaguars within striking distance until Gamble took over.
With her team leading 60-57 with 3:20 remaining, the All-America candidate native hit a pair of free throws and then knocked down a 3-point field goal from the left elbow to push the A-State lead to 65-57 with 1:31 to go and all but end any comeback attempt by South Alabama.
The squad will return to the court Saturday, March 7 at home against Louisiana-Lafayette. The game is set for a 3:05 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.