Jonesboro, AR (A-State) – Led by a career-high 17 points from freshman Peyton Martin, the Arkansas State women’s basketball team defeated Georgia Southern 69-48 in a Sun Belt Conference matchup Saturday afternoon at First National Bank Arena.
Martin scored 11 points in the second half as the Red Wolves (12-10, 7-4 Sun Belt) increased their lead to complete the season sweep of the Eagles. The freshman from Pine Bluff, Ark., went 7-of-8 from the free throw line and grabbed five rebounds on the way to her best game of the season. She gave A-State a much needed spark late in the third quarter and it carried into the final period as A-State outscored Georgia Southern by nine points over the final 10 minutes.
Jada Ford also finished in double-figures with 11 points, including three, 3-pointers, while Akasha Westbrook just missed out on a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds. Lauren Bradshaw also turned in a solid afternoon with eight points and seven rebounds.
The Red Wolves held Georgia Southern (4-18, 1-10) to just 27.6 percent (16-of-58) on the night, but the Eagles made seven, 3-pointers on the day. A-State shot 44.6 percent (25-of-56) from the field and got a huge effort from its bench, which outscored its opposition 36-7.
How It Happened (First Half):
Arkansas State shot a blistering 53.6 percent from the field in the first half, including 6-of-12 from beyond the arc to build a 36-24 lead at halftime. Ford knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the half, while Bradshaw worked in the paint for six points.
The Eagles opened the game with a 3-pointer, but A-State responded with a jumper from Bradshaw and a 3-pointer from Lycia Peevy to take a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the afternoon. Another 3-pointer from Ford pushed the advantage to 17-8 with 2:24 to go in the period, while Maggie Mahan gave A-State its double-digit lead of the day with a 3-pointer early in the second quarter.
A-State held Georgia Southern to just 23.1 percent shooting in the first half and outworked the Eagles 21-14 on the boards.
How It Happened (Second Half):
A-State opened the second half with a pair of free throws by Peevy and layup by Starr Taylor to push their lead to 16-points, but Georgia Southern worked the advantage down to 43-34 with 3:46 to go in the period after a 7-0 run.
Martin hit a jumper in the paint to end the run and push the lead back to double-digits to help spark the offense it caught fire at the end of the third and into the fourth quarter. Ford drained a 3-pointer from the corner to go up by 15 at 55-40 and Payton Tennison delivered back-to-back 3-pointers with under three minutes to go to help seal the victory.
· Peyton Martin finished with a career-high 17 points and was one rebound away from tying her career-high of six rebounds.
· Akasha Westbrook failed to score in double-figures for the first time for the first since Dec. 2 at Ole Miss (she had scored in 14 straight games)
· A-State is now 8-1 on the season when its bench outscores the opponent’s bench by more than 10 points.
· Arkansas State won back-to-back games for the just the second time this season.
Quoting Coach Boyer:
“Overall it was a good performance and good win. I think the only area I was disappointed in was the third quarter. We actually came out of the first few minutes and played really well, but I think it ended up not being very good for us because we relaxed a little bit and Georgia Southern started to make some shots and got us on our heels defensively. Fortunately we got through it and part of the reason was Peyton Martin. She has huge for us and we were able to get it into her in the high post area and she just made things happen.”
Arkansas State will take to the road for a swing through the state of Alabama when it takes on Troy on Thursday, Feb. 8. Tip-off from Trojan Arena is set for 5 p.m. and the game will air on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN App.