ATLANTA, GA (astateredwolves.com) – The Arkansas State women’s basketball team secured itself at least a share of the regular season Sun Belt Conference championship with a 85-64 victory over Georgia State Saturday afternoon at the GSU Sports Arena.
Aundrea Gamble scored 31 points and tied a career-high with 11 assists, while Khadija Brown-Haywood added 20 points and 11 rebounds. Jessica Flanery also finished with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc.
“Give Georgia State credit because they did not go away quietly,” A-State assistant coach Deidra Johnson said. “They made some runs at us but our kids handled it perfectly. They were hungry and had the will to win and executed the game plan perfectly to get the job done.”
The Red Wolves opened with the start they wanted and went on a 9-0 run in the game’s opening minutes to take a 9-2 lead after a pair of 3-pointers by Brown-Haywood. Amanda Lawson added a spark in her first game back from injury with eight points in the first half, while Flanery added a pair of 3-pointers to help A-State jump out to a 34-15 advantage with 6:48 to go until half.
Arkansas State held the Panthers scoreless for almost the first five minutes of the second quarter as Brown-Haywood (10) and Gamble (12) each reached double-figures, while Gamble also added seven assists in the half.
Georgia State rallied near the end of the half, however, and used a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 38-28 with one minute to go. A-State went 0-9 from the field during the Panthers’ run and did not score for over two minutes until scored with 18 seconds left on layup to send the Red Wolves into the locker room with a 42-30 advantage.
Georgia State took advantage of its size on the boards and held a 27-17 edge, including 14 offensive rebounds. The Panthers also added 10 second chance points, but A-State was able to offset that with 13 points off 13 GSU turnovers.
A-State opened the second half by scoring 19 points in a little over five minutes thanks to the efforts of Flanery who hit three, 3-pointers in the period. The Red Wolves also helped narrow the rebounding and got within six rebounds with 4:05 remaining in the period.
Gamble scored 19 points in the second half, and finished two off her career-high of 33 on the afternoon. She also tied a career-high with 11 assists and finished with her fourth double-double of the season.
It was also the eighth 30-point-plus performance of her career, which is the second most in school history. She finished the night 11-of-18 from the field and was a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.
A-State shot 50 percent (31-of-62) from the field on the afternoon, and forced the Panthers into 21 turnovers, which led to 27 points on the offensive end for the Red Wolves. A-State also got out in transition and scored 22 fast break points and got nice production from its bench with 14 points.
A-State returns home for the first time in two weeks when its hosts Texas State Thursday, Feb. 25 at the Convocation Center. The game will also be the Red Wolves’ annual Play4Kay “Pink Game” and fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m.