Jonesboro, AR (A-State) – The Arkansas State women's basketball team finished its preseason schedule with a 2-0 record after collecting an 83-73 exhibition victory over Harding Sunday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
A-State, which had at least four players score in each of its two preseason games, improved to 24-0 in exhibition contests since the 2005-06 season. The Red Wolves have now won 18 of their last 21 exhibition games by a double-figure margin, also knocking off Arkansas-Monticello last Tuesday by a 73-55 score.
Freshman guard Jada Ford came off the bench to score a game-high 16 points for the Red Wolves, while junior forward Lauren Bradshaw collected a double-double with 15 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Senior guard Dominique Oliver and freshman guard Starr Taylor added 14 and 10 points, respectively.
The game featured six lead changes and five ties, the last coming with 8:36 left in the fourth period when Harding's Flan Miller collected an offensive board and put back up a layup to knot the score 61-61. Holding only a one-point advantage, 68-67, almost three minutes later, the Red Wolves were able to put together a 7-0 run to take their largest lead of the game to that point.
Harding was able to cut A-State's lead back to 75-70 with 3:12 remaining, but couldn't get any closer as the Red Wolves outscored the Bisons 8-3 the rest of the way and collect the 10-point victory.
"I was very pleased with this performance," said A-State head coach Brian Boyer. "We knew coming into this game that Harding was very experienced and talented, and I was probably even more impressed with their team in person. I thought our players made some good adjustments and picked up some things as the game went along, and I was excited to get this one under our belt."
Facing each other in the preseason for the fourth consecutive season, neither team led by more than seven points in the first half that came to a close with A-State holding a 42-37 advantage. While the Bisons grabbed an early 13-7 lead and had the game tied in the fourth period, they never led over the contest's final 33 minutes.
Although Harding actually posted a higher shooting percentage, .386 to .371, the Red Wolves were able to make one more three-pointer, post a slim 45-43 advantage on the boards, and connect on 21-of-23 free throws for a 91.3 mark.
Harding's Miller scored a game-high 19 points and the squad got 56 points from its starters, but A-State had 11 players score and got 33 points from its bench. A-State also significantly cut down its mistakes with just 11 turnovers after committing 25 in its first exhibition game.
"We looked like we were more comfortable out there," Boyer said. "I thought they picked us to pieces to start the game, but I think that woke us up a little bit. As the game wore on we changed and corrected things, and I liked the way our team responded to that. The first game it was like it didn't make a lot of sense, but I thought today things made more sense and they started to understand some things."