Steller Defense Leads A-State Women's Basketball to Win Over FGCU

Steller Defense Leads A-State Women's Basketball to Win Over FGCU

FORT MYERS, FL ( – The Arkansas State women's basketball team handed Florida Gulf Coast its 10th home loss since joining the Division I ranks in 2006-07 in a 62-48 victory at Alico Arena Saturday night.

A-State trailed by one at halftime, but the Red Wolves outscored the Eagles 34-19 in the second half to improve its overall record to 4-1 on the year. FGCU, who is now 116-10 on its floor since 2006-07, drops to 3-3.

Gamble led A-State with 19 points and three steals, while Khadija Brown-Haywood recorded her second career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Amanda Lawson also tied a career-high with 15 points.

"This is just a really good win against a really good team in a really great atmosphere," A-State Brian Boyer said. "Just great efforts by Khadija, Aundrea and Amanda Lawson tonight and I could go on and on with players like Dominique Oliver coming off the bench and giving us great effort. This was just a really good win in a tough environment for us. I couldn't be more proud of my team, especially the way they played in the second half."

Florida Gulf Coast led 39-38 midway through the third quarter, but Brown-Haywood sparked a 10-0 run for the Red Wolves by knocking down a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to give the Red Wolves a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.

A layup and a free throw by Gamble pushed the advantage to five points, while Brown-Haywood got layup with 1:27 left in the period. The run was capped by steal and layup by Jessica Flanery to give Arkansas State a 48-39 lead. FGCU got a bucket just before the end of the period to cut the lead to seven points heading into the final quarter.

Brown-Haywood scored 11 of her 12 points in the second half and also grabbed five rebounds.

A-State used a quick 5-0 spurt to start the fourth quarter to push it's to double-digits for the first time during the game when the Eagles Kaneshia Atwater fouled out of the game with 7:45 to go. She led FGCU in scoring with 11 points, but played just 25 minutes on the night.

After a technical foul was assessed to the Eagles for taking to long to sub out Atwater, Gamble knocked down a free throw to push the A-State advantage to 53-41, but the Eagles used the energy from the crowd and went on a 5-0 run to cut the lead to seven with 7:08 to go.

Brittney Gill helped A-State end the run with a putback off a miss, and Brown-Haywood got a steal and layup to push the lead back to double-digits at 57-46 with 4:46 to go.

The Eagles would not score again until the 1:46 mark when Katie Meador got a layup to cut the deficit to 14, but A-State was able to run out the clock, including the final 18.8 seconds to pick up the victory.

A-State had a rough start to the game and missed it first six shots, allowing the Eagles to build 7-1 advantage. FGCU added a 6-0 run later in the quarter and held its largest lead at 16-7 with a minute to go in the opening period, but the Red Wolves finished with a flurry when Flanery knocked down a 3-pointer and Gamble got a steal and layup as time expired to get the Red Wolves within 16-12.

Gamble, who had 11 points in the first half, gave the Red Wolves their first lead since early in the first quarter with a turnaround jumper in the post after backing down her defender to put her team up 22-20.

The Red Wolves played a strong defensive opening 20 minutes and forced FGCU into five turnovers over a four minute stretch in the second quarter. However, foul trouble plagued the Red Wolves as Brittney Gill sat most of the first and second quarters with three fouls. FGCU took the lead after 3-pointer with under two minutes to go until half, but a layup by Gamble and free throw from Lawson pulled the Red Wolves within 29-28 at the break.

A-State shot 41.7 percent (25-of-60) from the field and held the Eagles to just 36.7 percent (18-of-49) on the night. The biggest difference in the second half came by the Red Wolves ability to keep the Eagles from knocking down 3-pointers. FGCU went 0-for-11 in the final 20 minutes and made just three, 3-pointers on the night.

A-State returns to the court, Monday Dec. 7 when it travels to SEC opponent Florida. The game will air on the SEC+ Network and is set to begin at 6 p.m. (CT).