NEW ORLEANS, La. (3/9/17) – Troy shot 31 percent from the floor, but 45 offensive rebounds helped the Trojans to a 105-72 defeat of the Arkansas State women’s basketball team in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at Lakefront Arena Thursday.
A-State closes the season with a record of 7-25 while Troy (20-10) advances to play UT Arlington Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Freshman Payton Tennison posted a career high 16 points to lead A-State. Tahlon Hopkins added 14 points and Jada Ford chipped in with 10 points. Caitlyn Ramirez led the Trojans with 25 points and 22 rebounds with those 22 rebounds being a Sun Belt Conference Tournament record.
The Red Wolves shot 38 percent (25-66) from the field, but Troy got off 107 shots (33-107) to garner a NCAA Division I best 86 total rebounds. The Trojans used 45 offensive rebounds to finish with a 43-4 edge in second chance points. Troy also took advantage at the free throw line, sinking 32-of-37 (86.5 percent) compared to 54.8 percent (17-31) for A-State.
How It Happened (First Half):
A 10-0 run midway through the first quarter proved large. With A-State facing an early 7-6 deficit, Troy opened it up with a 10-0 run over a four minute stretch to build a 17-6 advantage. The Trojans snagged nine offensive rebounds during the run and finished the first period with a 13-2 edge for a 10-0 advantage in second chance points.
Troy opened the second quarter on a 14-3 spurt to build a 20-point advantage, but the Red Wolves later answered with a 21-4 run to pull within three, 44-41, with 1:31 to play in the half. Peyton Tennison scored all eight of her first half points in that span, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers. Troy scored the final six points of the half to set the halftime score, but the rally gave A-State a chance in the second half.
The Trojans shot 25 percent (6-24) in the second quarter, but converted 13-of-14 (92.9 percent) at the charity stripe to maintain the lead. Troy finished the first half shooting 29.6 percent (16-54) from the field and 15-of-16 (93.8 percent) at the line.
A-State shot a blistering 66.7 percent (10-15), including 3-for-6 (50 percent) beyond the arc, from the field in the second quarter to get back in the game. The Red Wolves shot 51.6 percent (16-31) overall in the first half, but went 6-for-12 (50 percent) at the free throw line.
Troy managed a 38-19 advantage on the glass, including a 23-3 edge in offensive rebounds. The Trojans held a commanding 22-2 edge in second chance points and outscored A-State 15-6 in points off turnovers.
How It Happed (Second Half):
After Tahlon Hopkins was whistled for her fourth personal foul, Troy went on a 16-2 run to gain a 21-point edge at 66-45 with six minutes left in the third quarter. The Trojans never looked back from there as A-State couldn’t dwindle the deficit below 15 points the remainder of the game.
Payton Tennison set a career-high with 16 points and five assists.
This was the second straight season that A-State has been eliminated from the SBC Championship Tournament by Troy.
Quoting Coach Boyer:
“Congratulations to Troy. They are a veteran and extremely talented team and you could tell today that they were on a mission. Our players played hard and I never thought for one minute that we didn’t. We made some mistakes and obviously the rebounding was a key factor and we got caught up in their run, but when it was all said and done they were just a better team and played better and harder today and all the credit goes to them.”