JONESBORO, AR (astateredwolves.com) – Senior guard Aundrea Gamble scored a season-high 28 points to lead Arkansas State to a 66-55 victory over Austin Peay in front of a crowd of 2,837 Wednesday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
A-State led by three at halftime, but Gamble scored 14 points in the third quarter as the Red Wolves outscored the Lady Govs 21-12 to extend the lead to 53-41. Austin Peay got within one after Madison Rich drained a 3-pointer with 6:13 to go in the period, but A-State responded with a 12-0 to push the lead back to double-figures.
Gamble and Khadija Brown-Haywood, who finished with 19 points and eight rebounds, each hit ‘3s’ as the Red Wolves swung momentum back in their favor.
Gamble, who scored 20 points in the second half, found success by getting into the paint and posting up against defenders who she was able to beat off a dribble or draw a foul against. She went 3-of-4 from the foul line in the third quarter as A-State extended its lead.
Arkansas State held its largest lead a 59-43 after a layup by Gamble with 4:07 to go in the game, but the Lady Govs drained a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch cut the deficit to 11 with 50 seconds go. Amanda Lawson helped put the game away with a jumper in the with 30 seconds to go before Austin Peay hit a pair of free throw to set the final.
Lawson also finished in double-figures with 11 points and added four rebounds and three blocks.
“I’m proud of the team and how hard we played,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “It seemed like we were really close to pulling away a few times, but it has been a longtime since this group has had a game where everything that could go wrong, went wrong. It seemed like we had a lot shots go halfway in and rim out and it just seemed like we were unlucky at times.”
A-State got off to a rough start and fell behind 16-12 after the first quarter thanks to a 5-of-16 start from the field, but was helped out by a strong defensive effort. The Lady Govs committed five turnovers in the opening period and finished with 23 miscues on the afternoon. The Red Wolves also collected 12 steals to extend their streak of games with double-digit steals to eight straight.
“We played hard, but we just weren’t very smooth today,” Boyer said. “We were getting great shots early on and to their credit they were very patient on offense and made us defend for 20 to 25 seconds.”
With the win, Arkansas State has now won 14 consecutive games on its home floor, the ninth longest streak in the nation.
The Red Wolves will their final non-conference match of the year Monday, Dec. 22 at Nebraska.