LAFAYETTE, La. (3/1/18) – The Arkansas State women’s basketball team fell to Louisiana 60-53 Thursday evening in a Sun Belt Conference matchup at the CajunDome.
Akasha Westbrook led the way with 17 points for A-State, while Payton Tennison chipped in 11 points but it was not enough as the Red Wolves could not overcome costly mistakes throughout the game.
Louisiana scored 28 points off 25 A-State turnovers on the night and went 22-of-30 from the free throw line, including a 14-of-18 mark in the fourth quarter, to keep A-State from pulling off the comeback.
The Red Wolves shot 19-of-46 (41 percent) from the field and held Louisiana to a 37 percent (18-of-49) mark but the difference came at the free throw line where A-State had 19 fewer attempts than the Ragin’ Cajuns.
How It Happened (First Half):
A-State kept the score close throughout most of the first half despite committing 16 turnovers that led to 18 points for the Ragin’ Cajuns. The Red Wolves had five turnovers at the first media timeout as Louisiana went on a 6-0 run to go up 12-5.
Louisiana pushed its lead to 21-14 with 4:30 to go in the first half, but A-State pulled within three points after a 3-pointer by Lycia Peevy cut the deficit to 21-18 with just over three minutes to go. The Ragin’ Cajuns responded with a 6-0 to close out the half, including a 3-of-4 at the free throw line in the final minute to push their advantage to nine points at the break.
How It Happened (Second Half):
A-State turned up its pressure defensively in the second half quickly closed the gap to 29-27 after Taylor got a steal and layup at the 6:10 mark of the third quarter, but Louisiana answered with a 6-0 after the media timeout to push its lead back to eight at 35-27.
Payton Tennison helped draw the Red Wolves close against with a 3-pointer with 44 seconds to go in the period and then Morgan Wallace had a chance to give her team the lead, but had her layup attempt blocked and it lead to a bucket in transition for the Ragin’ Ragjn’ Cajuns to go up 37-34 at the end of the third quarter.
Louisiana used a 7-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter to push the lead 44-34, but A-State slowly chipped away at the lead over the next four minutes and got within 50-46 with 2:22 to go after Westbrook hit two free throws.
The Ragin’ Cajuns answered by going 4-of-4 at the free throw line on their next two trips down the floor to push their lead back to eight with under a minute. Westbrook hit a 3-pointer with 24 seconds left to get within 57-53, but would get no closer as Louisiana went 3-of-4 at the foul line in the final seconds to close out the game.
· For the first time this season A-State lost back-to-back games.
· Akasha Westbrook has now scored in double-figures in 19 out of her last 20 games.
· Lauren Bradshaw led the team in rebounding for the 13th time this season.
· Akasha Westbrook led the team in scoring for the ninth time this season.
· Westbrook also recorded four steals, marking the eight time this season she had three or more steals in a game.
Quoting Coach Boyer:
“We have made improvements this season but in life, and especially in sports, it is the way you finish and we are just not finishing very well right now. I have some signs in practice and places that concerned me, but every team this time of year is tired and you have to be able to battle through that and you just can’t make the type of mistakes we made tonight and expect to win.”
Arkansas State will conclude its regular season when it takes on Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday, March 3, at 12:00 p.m.