Newcomers shine as Arkansas State women’s basketball wins season opener
Five newcomers made the most of their Arkansas State women’s basketball debuts, combining for 54 points in the Red Wolves’ 83-52 season-opening victory against Central Baptist College Tuesday at First National Bank Arena.
Freshman Lauryn Pendleton led the way for A-State (1-0), scoring a team-high 19 points with 9 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals to go along with zero turnovers. The Little Rock native was one of four double-figure scorers and handed out the most assists by a Red Wolf since Feb. 20, 2016 (Aundrea Gamble, 11).
“What a good environment for 11 a.m. on a Tuesday for our opener,” head coach Matt Daniel said. “I was glad to have fans back in the stands and that kids could take field trips. On the floor, we have to be more intentional about our defensive rebounding and get better there. We got jitters out in front of our home crowd, and I don’t take that for granted anymore because of COVID. We shared the ball and played so unselfish. We have a good group, we just have to be more intentional about defensive schemes and defensive rebounding.”
A-State forced the Mustangs into 26 turnovers, while coughing up only 6 in the win, with Keya Patton swiping 4 of the team’s 10 total steals. The Auburn transfer recorded 9 points with 6 boards in her debut.
Mailyn Wilkerson added 13 points in a team-high 29 minutes, while Jade Upshaw added 13 points off the bench and Karolina Szydlowska scored 12 points in 14 minutes of reserve action. Mya Love led A-State with 8 rebounds.
As a team, the Red Wolves shot 26 of 75 (34.7 percent) with 18 assists and held CBC to just 27.6 percent shooting (16 of 58). From long range, A-State fired a single-game record 44 three-point attempts while shooting 79.2 percent (19 of 24) from the free-throw line.
Aminata Seck led all players in scoring and rebounding, with 21 points and an arena-record 23 boards. Alexis Augustus also factored into double figures, scoring 13 with 8 rebounds.
The Mustangs scored the first two baskets of the day and led by as much as 6 in the contest, leading 11-5 midway through the opening quarter. A-State closed on a 7-0 run with a pair of Szydlowska scores to lead 22-15 after the first 10 minutes. The Red Wolves would not trail for the rest of the contest, finishing the half on a 10-2 run to extend their lead to a 44-27 halftime advantage.
That lead ballooned to 29 in the third quarter, with the Scarlet and Black outscoring CBC 18-6, leading 62-33 into the final quarter. In the fourth, A-State held off the Mustangs, with its largest advantage coming with 50 seconds to play after a pair of free throws by Wilkerson.
With the win, A-State opened the season with a win for the second time in three seasons and improved to 17-3 all-time when opening the season on its home floor.
FIVE THINGS TO NOTE:
· Arkansas State improved to 26-22 all-time in season openers (17-3 when opening the season at home).
· A-State forced 26 turnovers, the most since the Red Wolves caused 28 on Dec. 17, 2020, versus Champion Christian.
· Lauryn Pendleton scored 19 points, the most by a freshman since March 9, 2019 (Jireh Washington – 22 at Louisiana). Her 9 assists was the most by an A-State player since Feb. 20, 2016 (Aundrea Gamble – 11 at Georgia State).
· Five new players saw the court for A-State, combining for 54 of the team’s 83 points and outscoring Central Baptist as a team.
· Four players scored in double digits for the Red Wolves for the first time since Jan. 23, 2021, versus Louisiana.
The Red Wolves the road for its second test of the season, traveling to Norman, Okla., to face (RV) Oklahoma on Friday. Tip-off is set for 10:30 a.m. at the Lloyd Noble Center with Bally Sports Southwest broadcasting the contest. The radio broadcast of all A-State women’s basketball games can be heard on 95.3/96.9 The Ticket.
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.
Copyright 2021 KAIT. All rights reserved.