JONESBORO, Ark. (12/22/12) – The Arkansas State women’s basketball team won its third straight game with a 77-53 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette in a Sun Belt Conference matchup at the Convocation Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Red Wolves (5-7, 2-1 Sun Belt Conference) shot a season best 59.6 percent from the field, while holding the Ragin’ Cajuns (6-6, 0-3) to a 30.6 field goal percentage. Junior Jane Morrill led the way for A-State with 22 points and five rebounds, while Jalen O’Bannon scored a career-high 13 points on 6-of-6 shooting.
“I thought in the second half we were really good defensively and that is where it all starts,” ASU head coach Brian Boyer said. “In the second half we didn’t allow them to score, so they didn’t get into their press and they don’t rebound and it all added up to a pretty good day once we got some stops.”
ASU took advantage of its height in the post with Morrill, Carlisha Wyatt and Jasmine Hunt. The trio combined to score 39 points on the day and helped the Red Wolves finish with a 39-33 edge on the boards.
Andi Watson knocked down three consecutive 3-point attempts in the second half to extend its lead to 56-33 with 12:52 to go in the game. The lead grew to 67-40 after O’Bannon scored on a layup with 6:16 to go in the game.
Defensively, ASU held Louisiana-Lafayette to just 28 percent shooting from the field in the second half. Sylvana Okde, who entered the game averaging 13.5 points per game, finished with just two points and was 0-of-2 from the field.
“Quinishia McDowell was great today,” Boyer said. “I think we are starting to appreciate more and more what she can do defensively. We talked in the pregame about how Okde was a good shooter and against most shooters if you get a good contest against them that can be enough, but we stressed that weren’t going to be good enough against her.”
ASU held a 35-26 advantage at halftime and led by as many as 16 in the period thanks to a 17-2 run. Morrill scored nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, while Hanna Qedan and O’Bannon each had five points during the first 20 minutes.
Louisiana-Lafayette responded with an 8-0 to pull within 28-20, but Sandy Jackson pushed the A-State lead to 11 with her first career 3-pointer. The Red Wolves were 3-of-6 from beyond the arc in the first half and finished the game with a season high seven 3-pointers on the day.
After committing 12 turnovers in the first half, ASU had just six in the final 20 minutes. The Red Wolves finished with seasons highs in points, field goal percentage and field goals made. Ashley Olvera finished with a season high 10 assists to help ASU finish with a season high 19 assists on the day.
“It has been a long week,” Boyer said. “We have had four games in eight days and the players have done a good job with it. It is a long year and it starts the first week of classes with training and conditioning and we have a lot of young players on this team. It will be good for them to get away for a few days and get ready for the stretch run.”
ASU will return to the courts Saturday, Dec. 29 for a SBC contest at South Alabama. Tipoff is set for 5:05 p.m.