LITTLE ROCK, AR (A-STATE) – The Arkansas State women’s basketball team saw its 18-game winning streak come to an end Tuesday night as Little Rock handed the Red Wolves their first loss of the Sun Belt Conference season with a 71-69 setback at the Jack Stephens Center.
A-State trailed by with 4.8 seconds to go in the game after Little Rock’s Sharde’ Collins missed two free throws that could have put the game away. Amanda Lawson secured the rebound and the Red Wolves took a timeout and advanced the ball into the near court with 3.8 seconds to go.
The Red Wolves throw the ball into Aundrea Gamble who tried to get a look off a screen, but passed the ball to Brittany Fowler when she could not get a clean look, but Fowler was unable to get the shot off before time expired as the Red Wolves fell to 24-4 overall and 18-1 in the Sun Belt. With the victory Little Rock improved to 17-11 overall and 15-4 in the league.
“This is a tough loss for our program,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “We knew coming into this it would be this type of game and it was the same type of game we had our place. While I’m proud of my team for fighting back, when you get down early to a team like Little Rock it’s hard to come back and we just could not ever get over on top of them like we needed to.”
Gamble led A-State with 22 points on the night, while Jessica Flanery keep pace throughout with 16 points, including four, 3-pointers.
The game featured six ties and lead changes on the night, five of which came in the game’s final five minutes. A-State trailed throughout much of the night and had to work its way back from a 10-point deficit in the first quarter. The Red Wolves cut Little Rock’s lead down to two points twice in the third quarter but could find a way to tie the game until Gamble hit a runner in the lane to tie the game at 57 with 7:05 to go.
Brittney Gill gave Arkansas State a 61-60 lead later in the quarter on a putback off an Amanda Lawson miss. It was the first lead for the Red Wolves since early in the first quarter, but A-State failed to extend its lead further and the teams traded baskets over the next several minutes.
Shanity James gave Little Rock a 69-67 lead with 48 seconds to go, but Gill answered with a runner in the lane to tie the game for the sixth time, but the Trojans pushed the ball down the court and James scored on a drive to the basket to put her team ahead 71-69 with 16 seconds to go.
A-State had a good luck to tie the game when Gill missed spinning shot in the paint and the Trojans grabbed the rebound and were immediately fouled, but Little Rock gave the Red Wolves another when Kaitlyn Pratt missed both free throws to set up the final sequence.
“Regardless of whether or not we needed a wakeup call, we got one,” Boyer said. “The message to the team was that this is March basketball. It is going to be physical and it is going to be loud and we just did not handle it very well tonight.”
Little Rock used an 11-0 run in the first quarter to build a 13-3 advantage. The Trojans went 6-for-11 from the field during the run and held a 10-1 edge on the boards. The 10 points deficit represented to the largest since A-State trailed Nebraska by 10 in A-State’s final non-conference game of the year.
A-State chipped away at the lead in the second quarter and got a lift from Flanery who hit three, 3-pointers to help the Red Wolves cut down the deficit. Her third trey of the period pulled the Red Wolves within in 30-28 with 3:08 to go, but the Trojans responded by scoring six of the final eight points to lead 36-30 at the break.
Flanery led A-State with 11 points, while Gamble added 10. Brown-Haywood was held scoreless and spent much of the half on the bench with two fouls. Brittney Gill also faced foul trouble and picked up her third with over five minutes left until half. Gamble played a majority of the second quarter after picking up her second on a charge call underneath the basket.
A-State wraps up the regular season Saturday with a road game at Appalachian State. Tipoff is set for Noon and can be seen on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.