Jonesboro, AR (A-State) – The Arkansas State women’s basketball team dropped a Sun Belt Conference matchup with in-state rival Little Rock 53-43 Saturday afternoon at the Jack Stephens Center.
With the loss, A-State fell to 9-9 overall and 4-3 in the SBC, while the Trojans improved to 10-8 overall and 7-0 in the league standings.
Akasha Westbrook led the Red Wolves with 15 point, four rebounds and four steals, while Jada Ford added eight points. Lauren Bradshaw had a team-high five rebounds and blocked four shots.
Little Rock was led by Ronjanae Degray’s 16 points, while Keanna Keys added 13 points on the afternoon.
How It Happened (First Half):
Both teams got off to a slow shooting start, but A-State was able to take an early 7-2 lead in the first quarter. The Trojans responded with a 6-0 run to close the first period to go up one, but Westbrook tied the game at 12-12 with a free throw before the second quarter media timeout.
The Trojans answered with a layup and a free throw by Terrion Moore that sparked a 7-0 to push the advantage to 19-12. The lead grew to 10 with under a minute to go in the half, but Westbrook got a steal and a layup just as time expired in the first half to set the score at the break at 27-19.
Westbrook led the way for A-State with 11 points and four rebounds, while Ronjanae DeGray paced the Trojans with eight points.
Arkansas State shot 31.8 percent (7-of-22) from field in the opening 20 minutes, while Little Rock was 10-of-27 (37 percent).
How It Happened (Second Half):
Little Rock opened the seconds half on a 7-0 run to push the lead to 34-19 that forced A-State head coach Brian Boyer to take a timeout. Little Rock pushed its advantage to 22, the largest of the quarter, with 16 seconds remaining in the period before Tayton Hopkins converted a 3-point play to get within 45-26.
The Trojans outscored A-State 18-7 in the third quarter and shot a blistering 53.8 percent from the field, while the Red Wolves were limited to just 2-of-13 shooting.
A-State cut the lead down to 47-35 with 6:47 to go in the game after a 9-0 run that included a 3-pointer by Jada Ford. Westbrook scored on back-to-back trips get within 51-42, but Little Rock made 1-of-2 free throws on the opposite end and controlled the rebound of the miss with two minutes to go and a 52-42 lead.
Arkansas State made up the ground it lost in the third quarter by outscoring the Trojans 17-8 in the final period, but was never able to get the score close enough to be a one possession game down the stretch.
· Junior guard Akasha Westbrook scored in double-figures for the 11th straight game.
· Lauren Bradshaw had four blocks to bring her career total to 152.
Quoting Coach Boyer:
“I don’t think there was anything about this game that wasn’t expected. It was very physical and in conference game they have been holding teams in the 40s and they did that once again to us. I’m proud of the team and the way we competed and I thought early when we were changing up defenses between man and zone that the players did a great job of handling that.”
“We came out at halftime and had a really bad start to the second half and I thought we didn’t have a lot of energy and that’s the one area I’m disappointed in because that is when they built their lead, but then we got it back going again and it was competitive until the end.”
Arkansas State returns to the road to take on Coastal Carolina, Thursday, Jan. 25 at 4 p.m.