GAINESVILLE, Fla. (11/14/17) – The Arkansas State women’s basketball team earned its first victory over an SEC opponent since 2007 in a 70-69 victory over Florida Tuesday evening at Exactech Arena.
Jada Ford scored a game-high 17 points, including the go-ahead bucket with 25 seconds to go, as the Red Wolves (1-1) picked up their first victory of the season. Peyton Martin added 15 points and six rebounds off the bench and Akasha Westbrook rounded out the box score with 14 points.
A-State shot 38.4 percent (28-73) from the field, while Florida knocked down 51 percent (26-51) of its shot attempts. Both teams knocked down eight 3-pointers, while the Gators finished 9-of-13 from the foul line and the Red Wolves went 6-of-10.
Florida (1-1) turned the ball over 23 times, while A-State limited itself to just 11 miscues. The Red Wolves also scored 24 points off the Gators’ turnovers and got 40 points from its bench.
The game featured 10 lead changes and 11 ties.
How It Happened (First Half):
A-State shot a blistering 43.8 percent in the first quarter and used a 6-0 run to take an 8-5 lead early on. The Gators were bothered by foul trouble in quarter, particularly on the offensive end where they were called for three offensive fouls.
Florida tied the game at 10-10, but Payton Tennison and Madison Heckert knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to push the advantage to its largest of the half at 16-10. The Gators were able to cut the deficit to 17-14 at the end of the first quarter, but struggled to take care of the basketball and finished the opening frame with eight turnovers.
The Arkansas State bench provided a spark with 17 first half points and allowed the Red Wolves to lead for most of the second quarter. Florida tied the game before the media timeout at 22-22, but Peyton Martin, one of nine Red Wolves to score, answered on the next trip down the floor to give A-State the advantage back.
The Gators took the lead into the locker room, however, when Haley Lorenzen knocked down a triple with 44 seconds to go in the half. The Red Wolves tried to answer when Starr Taylor stole the ball with four seconds to go but could not get a clean look at the basket.
Arkansas State shot 36.1 percent (13-36) from the field, while Florida made 46.2 percent (12-26) of its attempts. The Gators turned the ball over 11 times, while A-State had six miscues.
How It Happed (Second Half):
Arkansas State trailed by two with 4:35 to go in the game when Jada Ford knocked down a 3-pointer to go up 64-63 and the Red Wolves never trailed in the game again. The trey sparked a 7-0 run that was bookended by two baskets by Ford to put A-State ahead 68-63 with 3:08 to go.
Florida cut the deficit to three on a jumper by Delicia Washington and Haley Lorenzen made 1-of-2 free throws to get the Gators within 68-66 with 47 seconds to go.
Ford answered on the next possession when she drove the base line and put up a tough shot in traffic that fell to give the Red Wolves a 70-66 with under 30 seconds to go. The Gators answered again when Funda Nakkasoglu hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds to go to get within one to setup a strange sequence of events to end the game.
Florida, who had committed just two fouls in the fourth quarter, allowed the clock to run down to 5.6 seconds before committing a foul. With still two fouls to give, the Gators forced a turnover on the inbounds pass on a five second call and quickly called timeout to advance the ball.
On the inbounds play Dyandria Washington immediately took a 3-pointer that missed the mark, but the Florida nearly tipped in the rebound before Westbrook secured the rebound and was fouled as the clock ran out. Upon an official review, it was determined the clock had expired before the foul was committed to give A-State the one-point victory.
Arkansas State played a solid game on the defensive end throughout the night and forced Florida into five straight turnovers during a stretch in the fourth quarter that allowed them to erase a three-point deficit and take a 61-59 lead with 6:58 to go in the game.
A-State won its first game against an SEC opponent since Nov. 18, 2007 when it defeated Alabama 49-40.
A-State is now 15-19 all-time against SEC member schools.
This was Arkansas State’s first victory over Florida in five tries.
Akasha Westbrook scored in double-figures for the fifth time in six games.
Peyton Martin reached double-figures (17 points) for the first time in her career.
Quoting Coach Boyer:
“My biggest thing with this group tonight was that we played hard all night. It feels good and it helps when you hit shots. It was good to have Jada back out there and knocking down shots, but I’m telling you this group just played their hearts out defensively. What we talked pregame was that we had to use our quickness and get their post players away from the basket and we did that.”
“My number one key in the locker room was that we had to rebound against this bunch and we had 20 offensive rebounds to their 13 and that is a great job of staying disciplined by us.”
The Red Wolves continue their swing through the Sunshine state with they take on South Florida Friday night. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. in Tampa.