Martin, TN (A-State) – The Arkansas State women’s basketball team erased an 18—point third quarter deficit, but fell 68-63 at UT Martin Wednesday.
Jada Ford led the Red Wolves with 17 points while Brittany Fowler posted 16 points. Tahlon Hopkins posted her first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Myah Taylor finished with 17 points to lead three Skyhawks who posted double figures.
“We didn’t quit and kept fighting and that is a big deal for us,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “We continued to compete and played our tails off on defense and cleaned up the turnovers in the fourth quarters and gave ourselves a real chance at winning this thing.”
The Red Wolves (1-8) faced an 18-point deficit, 50-32, with 5:33 remaining in the third quarter, but A-State refused to go away quietly. UT Martin (3-7) held a 55-38 lead with 2:45 remaining, but the Red Wolves went on a 20-3 run over the next 7:56 to tie the game at 58.
Taylor hit one of her five 3-pointers on the night to put the Skyhawks back in front 61-58, but Fowler answered with a trey on the other end to knot the score at 61 with 3:45 left. A-State took its only lead of the game, 62-61, with 3:02 remaining after Ford split a pair of free throws. UT Martin regained the lead on a jumper by Janekia Mason and Taylor followed with another trey to make it 66-62 with 2:06 left.
Hopkins was fouled with 1:18 left, but split the free throws making it 66-63. Emanye Robertson hit a layup with the shot clock expiring to make it 68-63 and time expired on the Red Wolves before any chance of another comeback.
“We had some players step up and some big shots for us,” Boyer said. “Jada was big for us in that third quarter and Tahlon hit some big shots and was real aggressive in got some key rebounds and got to the free throw line, but we just had some real crucial mistakes and that speaks to what we’ve been working on all year in making sure we are communicating constantly and not doing that hurt us today.”
A-State dug itself out of a seven point deficit in the second quarter thanks to a 6-0 run that included back-to-back baskets by Fowler to get within 23-22 with 6:11 remaining in the half. The Skyhawks went 2:56 without scoring during the run and committed five turnovers.
Jada Ford tied the game at 25-25 with 4:49 to go in the half, but UT Martin responded with a 13-3 run to take a 38-28 lead into the break and it extended to a 21-3 into the opening minutes of the third quarter as the Skyhawks built an 18-point advantage.
A-State shot 46 percent from the field on the day, but turned the ball over 24 times. UT Martin also shot 46 percent from the field and turned the ball over 21 times, but the Skyhawks held a 36-31 advantage on the glass and had 16 second chance points.
A-State will wrap up non-conference with a three-game at the Puerto Rico Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., when it takes on Kennesaw State, Northern Kentucky and Cal Dec. 19-21.