Stillwater, OK (A-State) – The Arkansas State women’s basketball team dropped its season opening contest to Oklahoma State at Gallagher-Iba Arena Friday morning by a score of 76-34
The Red Wolves (0-1) trailed 26-19 at the end of the first half, but the Cowgirls went on a 19-0 run to start the second half to build its lead. A-State struggled to handle Oklahoma State’s pressure defense during the stretch and turned the ball over seven times.
Oklahoma State (1-0) outscored Arkansas State 30-7 in the third quarter as pushed the lead to double figures for the first time with 8:31 to go in the quarter. A-State cut the deficit to 24 after Dominique Oliver made a layup with 1:44 to go in the period, but could not capitalize on the momentum.
Oliver and freshman Starr Taylor led A-State on the day with seven points, while junior Akasha Westbrook scored six points and grabbed six rebounds. Oliver also finished with five rebounds.
“One of the benefits from last year’s team was that there wasn’t anything that a team could throw at us that we hadn’t seen,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “Now with this year, nearly everything people throw at us we haven’t seen and that’s what happened. They threw a three-quarter trap at us and we took a timeout and we did okay with that as the game went along but then they went to a zone in the second half and we just haven’t seen a lot of that yet and things just got out of hand from there.”
The Red Wolves turned a solid defensive effort in the opening 20 minutes and forced the Cowgirls into 15 turnovers, but the struggles on the offensive end prevented the squad from pressuring Oklahoma State further.
A-State scored 10 points off the turnovers in the half, but also had a scoring drought of five plus minutes in the second quarter that ended when Tahlon Hopkins knocked down a jumper as time ticked away in the period.
Oklahoma State also dominated Arkansas State on the boards early, particularly on the offensive end, but the Red Wolves worked to close the gap to a six rebound differential by the break.
“The first half was really good. I thought our effort and intensity was flawless,” Boyer said. “We were the team that played harder and our effort was better, but we came out in the second half and we didn’t handle their shot in the second half. You know being on the road that they are going to make a run at you and we just handle it very well and things started unravel from there.”
A-State outrebounded the Cowgirls 19-18 on the offensive glass and finished the afternoon nine steals and four blocks.
A-State returns to action Wednesday, Nov. 16 at Austin Peay. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. from Clarksville, Tenn.