Izzy Higginbottom has 12 pts, A-State women’s basketball falls to Louisiana in overtime
What would have been a potential game-winning shot in the final six seconds of overtime rimmed out for the Arkansas State women’s basketball team, which dropped a 49-48 decision to Louisiana Saturday afternoon inside the Cajundome.
A-State (6-13, 1-7 SBC) battled back from a double-digit halftime deficit to tie it twice in the fourth quarter before Lauryn Pendleton sank a jumper with 9 seconds to play, sending the contest into overtime. The Ragin’ Cajuns (11-9, 5-3) then edged the Scarlet and Black 3-2 in the extra period to earn the win.
Izzy Higginbottom led the Red Wolves with 12 points, while Leilani Augmon added 10 rebounds with eight points off the bench. Melodie Kapinga scored nine points on 3-for-3 from the field and 3-for-3 at the free-throw line to go along with eight boards, including an offensive board in the final seconds with a chance at the putback. Pendleton scored eight points, six in the second half, with seven boards.
As a team, A-State shot 33.9 percent (20-59) from the floor and made all five of its foul shots. Defensively, the Red Wolves forced 22 turnovers and held the Ragin’ Cajuns to 36.8 percent (21-57) from the field and just 8.3 percent (1-12) from the perimeter. Louisiana won the rebounding battle, 39-37.
Tamera Johnson led the way with 10 points and 12 rebounds while Nubia Benedith added a game-high 13 rebounds.
After Louisiana led by four early, A-State surged ahead with nine unanswered points to lead 11-6 on back-to-back Augmon jumpers. The hosts scored the final six points of the opening quarter to lead 12-11 after one.
A-State’s scoring drought to end the first lasted nearly eight minutes combined, broken by a Higginbottom jumper that pulled her team within seven at the 4:07 mark. After a Griffin score made it a two-point contest with a minute left in the half, the Cajuns closed the half with five unanswered to lead 25-18 at intermission.
Louisiana expanded its lead to 10 early in the third quarter, but Jade Upshaw capped an 8-0 run with a trey that made it 28-26 before the Cajuns pushed their advantage back out to eight down the stretch. Kapinga knocked down a putback at the buzzer to end the third, cutting Louisiana’s lead to 36-30 entering the fourth.
The Red Wolves pulled within two once again to start the fourth, with Augmon tying it at 40-all with 4:06 left in regulation. Pendleton’s inside jumper marked the second tie of the period, leveling the score at 42-all with 2:23 to go. Louisiana scored four straight on layup by Benedith and Destiny Rice, but scores by Higginbottom and Pendleton in the final minute forced overtime.
Both sides battled defensively in the overtime period, with Louisiana striking first on a layup by Sherry Porter and a free throw by Caira Wren to make it 49-46. Augmon answered with a long 2-point basket with 50 seconds to play, cutting it to one. A-State held possession for the final 26 seconds, with Pendleton’s 3-point attempt rimming out and falling into the hands of Kapinga, who was unable to get a buzzer-beating shot off to end it.
A-State returns home for three of its next four games, beginning Thursday, Jan. 26, against Southern Miss (13-6, 6-2). Tip-off against the Lady Eagles inside First National Bank Arena is set for 7 p.m. CT on ESPN+. The radio broadcast can be heard live via the EAB Red Wolves Sports Network station 95.3 and 96.9 The Ticket Radio Network.
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