JONESBORO, Ark. (12/31/16) – The Arkansas State women’s basketball team held a nine-point lead with just under seven minutes left in its Sun Belt Conference game against Louisiana-Lafayette, but the Ragin’ Cajuns were able to rally for an 80-72 victory Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
The Red Wolves (3-11, 1-1) were led by four players scoring in double figures, including freshman guard Tahlon Hopkins with a season-high 18 points. The Ragin’ Cajuns (7-4, 1-1) were paced by Jasmine Thomas and Jaylyn Gordon with 21 points each.
Despite trailing by as many as nine points in the second period, A-State was able to outscore ULL 19-9 in the third period and build a 62-53 advantage with 6:43 left in the game. However, the Ragin’ Cajuns responded with a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to reclaim the lead.
While Arkansas State was unable to recapture the lead, it trailed just 72-70 with 1:46 remaining before ULL ended the contest by scoring eight of the last 10 points. Louisiana-Lafayette posted a .632 shooting percentage and scored 35 points in the fourth period to complete the comeback.
The Red Wolves actually finished the game with a .464 field goal percentage to the Ragin’ Cajuns .387 mark. However, A-State was outrebounded 41-36, outscored 40-22 in the paint and committed 12 more turnovers (22 to 10). ULL also connected on 19-of-24 free throw attempts, while Arkansas State made 13-of-19.
“What stands out here is the fact we gave up 19 more field goal opportunities and there aren’t many teams going to win when you do that and that came back to haunt us,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “I was disappointed in the start of this game because we didn’t look sharp and didn’t have the same energy as the other night, but we got past that and competed really well and probably had the best quarter of the year in the third quarter, but we just gave them a little bit of life in that fourth quarter and just couldn’t get them out of it.
A-State found itself behind 21-12 at the end of the first period, but outscored ULL 22-15 in the second period to cut its deficit to just two points, 36-34, at the half. The Red Wolves, in search of back-to-back wins for the first time this season, began the second half with a 10-2 run to take their first lead of the -game with 5:36 left in the third period.
A-State took a 53-45 lead into the fourth period, led 57-53 with 7:45, and then posted a quick 5-0 run to go ahead by nine points before ULL began its rally.
Jada Ford scored 12 points to join Hopkins in double figures, while Brittany Fowler and Dominique Oliver each added 10 points for the Red Wolves. Hopkins was also responsible for a team-high six rebounds, Starr Taylor posted a season-high seven assists.
Arkansas State returns to action Thursday, Jan. 5, with a 6 p.m. road game against Appalachian State.