JONESBORO, Ark. (12/29/16) – Freshman guard Jada Ford scored 12 of her game-high 24 points in the fourth period, leading the Arkansas State women’s basketball team to a second-half surge that resulted in a 71-56 win over Louisiana-Monroe in both team’s Sun Belt Conference opener Thursday night at the Convocation Center.
A-State won its sixth consecutive Sun Belt opener while improving to 16-11 all-time in such games. The Red Wolves (3-10, 1-0) also collected their 11th straight win over the Warhawks (3-9, 0-1) and brought their home record this year to an even 2-2.
“I liked our effort from start to finish and we know played hard from start and all the way through and I think a lot of had to do with how we wore them down and got them into foul trouble, which was significant,” Boyer said. “Another key area was the turnover battle where we only turned it over 10 times and they are a team that turns it over a lot and they only had six at the half, but we really stepped it up in the second half and got them to make 12 turnovers and we were able to take advantage of that.”
Including Ford, the Red Wolves had two players score in double figures as senior guard Brittany Fowler added 13 points. Fowler also pulled down a career-high seven rebounds, matching junior forward Lauren Bradshaw for the most by an A-State player on the night.
The first half featured 11 lead changes and ended in a 33-33 tie, but the Red Wolves outscored the Warhawks 18-11 and 20-12 in the third and fourth periods, respectively. A-State slightly improved its shooting percentage in the second half while ULM’s slightly dropped, but the Red Wolves scored 16 of their 18 points off turnovers in the second half.
Arkansas State opened the third period by scoring nine of the first 11 points as it claimed a 42-35 lead with 6:02 remaining. It built its lead to as many as eight before closing with a seven-point advantage, 51-44.
The fourth also began with an Arkansas State run as it outscored ULM 12-4 over the period’s first five minutes to open up a 63-48 lead. ULM was able to cut A-State’s lead to 11 points with 3:46 left, but couldn’t get any closer.
Ogo Obinabo played a pivotal role throughout the night and finished with a career-high seven points and nine rebounds and also was successful in drawing foul from the ULM defense which played a key factor with foul trouble late in the game.
“I’ll take seven points and nine rebounds from Ogo any day of the week,” Boyer said. “She really played well and the key with her is that she has also been aggressive but now she is starting to score off offensive rebounds and even though she struggled at the foul line she got their post players into foul trouble and that was huge.”
A-State finished the game with a .410 shooting percentage to ULM’s .359. Although the Warhawks held a 43-41 advantage on the boards, the Red Wolves committed eight fewer turnovers while dishing out three more assists.
Arkansas State returns to action Saturday, Dec. 31, with a 2:30 p.m. home game against Louisiana-Lafayette.