LINCOLN, NE (astateredwolves.com) – Aundrea Gamble scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for her seventh career double-double, but Nebraska outscored Arkansas State 20-10 over the final five minutes to hand the Red Wolves a 79-71 setback Monday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
A-State led 61-58 with 5:52 to go in the game, but the Huskers mounted a furious comeback and as Arkansas State go into foul trouble down the stretch. Brittney Gill, who scored 13 rebounds and had six rebounds, fouled out with 2:52 to go and Amanda Lawson, followed seconds later with her fifth foul to put the Red Wolves down two starters for the game’s final minutes.
“It is another really good effort on my team’s part,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “I think Nebraska is really good and eventually I think they will get into the top-25 and stay and my team competed hard. One thing we knew we had to do was make perimeter shots and it just didn’t happen for us tonight.”
The Red Wolves shot 36.1 percent (30-of-83) from the field, but finished just 5-of-30 (16.7 percent) from beyond the arc, while Nebraska made 7-of-17, 3-pointers.
A-State trailed 32-27 at halftime and Nebraska look poised to pull away early in the third quarter when it started to take advantage of its size and began to get the ball inside to freshman Jessica Sheppard who scored on three straight possessions to give the Huskers a 38-31 lead.
Khadija Brown-Haywood sparked a 9-0 run when got the hoop and was fouled, while Gamble followed with back-to-back layups to tie the game at 43. Lawson gave the Red Wolves the lead on a putback on one of A-State’s 20 offensive rebounds.
Brown-Haywood also finished in double-figures with 18 points, 14 of which came in the second half. She also narrowly missed out on a double-double with eight rebounds.
The two teams continued to trade baskets for the remainder of the quarter, but A-State swung momentum in its favor and led by three points at two different points in the final period.
Gill put Arkansas State up 57-54 with a mid-range jumper with 7:26 to go in the game and the Red Wolves took a three-point lead again when Gamble hit a jumper to go up 61-58 with 5:52 to go.
Nebraska, however, began to get the ball inside again where and took the lead for good on a free throw by Sheppard. The free throw was part of a 9-0 run by the Huskers that gave them a 67-61 with less than five minutes to go.
“You have to pick your poison with Nebraska because they are so talented,” Boyer said. “We only turned it over nine times and only gave up nine offensive rebounds and those are areas we gave ourselves a chance to win the game. We just gave up a few too many open shots at times, but again that’s a credit to how good they are.”
A-State jumped out to a quick five point lead to start the game, but proceeded to go just 3-of-14 from the field as the Huskers used a 14-2 run to build a seven point advantage. A-State fought back in the first second quarter and tied the score at 20 after a bucket by Gamble, but Nebraska responded with five straight point to take a 25-20 lead with 5:26 remaining in the half.
The deficit stayed at five points as both teams traded baskets for the remainders of the half. Despite having a size advantage inside, the Huskers held a slim 27-23 edge on the boards and were limited to just five second chance points.
Gamble was the Red Wolves’ main source of offense in the half. She scored 12 points, the only player for either team to reach double-figures, and also grabbed five rebounds. Brown-Haywood battled inside had seven rebounds at half, despite giving four-to-five inches to her defenders.
Monday’s game featured 13 lead changes and eight ties.
The Red Wolves open Sun Belt Conference action with a pair of road contests at Troy (Dec. 30) and at South Alabama (Jan. 2). Both games can be heard on 95.3FM The Ticket and online at AStateRedWolves.com.