JONESBORO, AR (astateredwolves.com) – The Arkansas State women’s basketball team scored the final nine points in a 66-53 Sun Belt Conference victory over Little Rock Monday night at the Convocation Center, pulling away late for its sixth consecutive win.
A-State extended its home winning streak to 18 games, improved its overall record to 12-3 and remained undefeated in conference play with a 6-0 mark. Little Rock saw its two-game winning streak come to a close, falling to 5-10 overall and 3-3 in the SBC.
Senior guard Aundrea Gamble led Arkansas State with 27 points, which were her second most of the season. Senior forward Khadija Brown-Haywood added 14 points for the Red Wolves, and senior forward Amanda Lawson pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds.
“It was good to get out of here with a win,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “This was a typical Little Rock and Arkansas State game. It is a game where you know it is going to be a battle and very physical and you just hope that the final score ends up in your favor and it did.”
A-State entered halftime trailing by one point, but was able to take a two point lead by the conclusion of a third period that never saw either team lead by more than four points and featured four lead changes. While the Red Wolves didn’t relinquish the lead in the final period, Little Rock was able to tie the game for the 11th time at 47-47 with 7:41 left.
Leading just 50-49 at the 6:29 mark, Brown-Haywood connected on a three and A-State would hold a two-possession advantage the rest of the game. Kaitlyn Pratt, who was responsible for a team-high 21 points, scored Little Rock’s final points on a layup with 2:37 left that trimmed the Red Wolves lead to 57-53.
However, Gamble took over at that point by scoring the next seven points, and Brown-Haywood set the final score with a pair of free throws. Gamble, a two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, scored 11 points in a fourth period that saw A-State hit 9-of-15 shots for a .600 field goal percentage.
“I’ve been saying it for a few years now, but I kind of like having that Gamble kid on my team,” Boyer said. “One of our messages, actually our biggest message at halftime from an offensive standpoint was that we needed Gamble to get a shot on every single possession and what I love about this team is that is that when I brought it up, everybody in the locker room was on board.”
A-State found itself down by five after one period and trailing 26-25 at halftime after shooting 32 percent from the floor, but significantly improved its accuracy in the second half by recording at least a .471 percentage in each of the final two periods.
The Red Wolves finished the game with a .429 field goal percentage and made 9-of-9 free throws. While Little Rock held a 44-33 advantage on the boards, A-State held the Trojans to a .359 shooting percentage.
Little Rock turned 25 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points and also outscored A-State 46-38 in the paint. A-State turned the ball over eight fewer times, though, and scored 17 points off 19 Trojan mistakes.
Arkansas State returns to action Thursday, Jan. 21, with a 5 p.m. road game at UT Arlington.