A fourth-quarter comeback came up short for Arkansas State women’s basketball, as Little Rock made key free throws down the stretch to defeat the Red Wolves 70-63 Friday night at First National Bank Arena.
A-State (9-8, 4-7 SBC) outscored the Trojans (11-7, 7-4) 24-19 in the final period, but Little Rock connected on nine of its 10 fourth-quarter free throws to escape with the seven-point victory.
“Obviously, I wasn’t pleased with the outcome,” head coach Matt Daniel said. “I didn’t think we competed very hard tonight and that’s not typical of who we are. The good thing is that we get a chance to go down (to Little Rock) tomorrow and do something that’s never been done before. It hurts not having Jireh (Washington), but there’s growth because of that. We just have to get better and compete harder.”
Karolina Szydlowska led all players with a career-high 17 points and nine rebounds while Jada Stinson recorded 15 points. Morgan Wallace just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 boards. Trinitee Jackson was effective off the bench, scoring eight points. As a team, the Red Wolves shot 42.9 percent (24-56) from the floor and 33.3 percent from three-point range (7-21). A-State also edged out the Trojans on the glass, 32 to 31.
Five players scored 10 or more for Little Rock, with Krystan Vornes, Tia Harvey and Mayra Caicedo leading the balanced attack with 14 points apiece. Ky’lie Scott scored 11 while Teal Battle added 10. The Trojans were 18 of 19 from the free-throw line (94.7 percent) and connected on six of 14 from three-point range (42.9 percent). Overall, Little Rock shot 43.4 percent (23-53).
Little Rock struck first on a jumper by Harvey before the Red Wolves answered with a 10-2 run capped off by a trey by Stinson to lead 10-4 with 3:50 to go in the first. The Trojans then went on a 9-2 run to close the period with a 13-12 lead.
The Trojans held A-State without a field goal for over three and a half minutes to open the second, stretching their lead out to 22-13. Szydlowska converted a three-point play to cut the deficit to six, but Little Rock extended its lead to 13, leading 31-18 with under three left in the half. A 6-0 run by A-State trimmed it to 31-24, but a layup by Caicedo just before the half gave Little Rock a 33-24 halftime lead.
Little Rock’s lead was back up to 13 at the eight-minute mark, but Stinson began to heat up, sparking a 10-2 run that pulled the Scarlet and Black to within five. Stinson was responsible for eight of the 10 during the stretch, including a pair of treys. Little Rock closed out the period outscoring A-State 10-3 to lead 51-39 after three.
The deficit stretched out to as much as 17 midway through the fourth, but Szydlowska was a big factor in an 11-0 run that made it a two-possession game with under a minute to play. The junior scored nine of the 11 points in the run, six from beyond the arc.
The Red Wolves return home to face in-state rival Little Rock on Wednesday, Feb. 10 to open a women’s-men’s doubleheader. Tipoff versus the Trojans is slated for 2 p.m. CT and the broadcast can be watched live on ESPN+ while the radio broadcast can be heard on 95.3/96.9 The Ticket.
Five Things To Note:
1. Arkansas State forced double-digit turnovers for the 15th time in 17 games.
2. Karolina Szydlowska posted a career-high 17 points with nine rebounds – the fifth straight game she has grabbed six or more boards.
3. Jada Stinson scored in double figures for the fifth straight game and the seventh time in eight contests.
4. Morgan Wallace grabbed 10 rebounds for sixth time this season. The senior has recorded six or more boards in all but one game.
5. A-State’s record versus Little Rock fell to 46-25 all-time – 29-7 in Jonesboro.
For the latest on the A-State women’s basketball program, follow @AStateWB on Twitter and @astatewbb on Instagram, while also liking the team’s Facebook page at //Facebook.com/RedWolvesWBB.