JONESBORO, Ark. (11/30/17) – Led by four players in double-figures the Arkansas State women’s basketball team remained undefeated at First National Bank Arena with a 68-62 victory over Tennessee State Thursday evening.
Lauren Bradshaw and Jada Ford paced the Red Wolves with 13 points each, while Morgan Wallace scored a season-high 11 and Akasha Westbrook rounded out the night with 10 points. Bradshaw also led the team with seven rebounds and two blocks, while Ford had a team-high four assists.
With the victory, the Red Wolves improved their record to 3-3 on the year, while the Tigers fell to 0-5.
Arkansas State shot 45.6 percent (26-of-57) from the field, while holding Tennessee State to just a 37.3 percent (26-of-67) clip. The Red Wolves also went 15-of-27 (55.6 percent) from the free throw line, while the Tigers were 5-of-13 (38.5 percent). A-State also won the battle on the boards 41-38.
Tia Wooten led two Tigers in double-figures with 24 points, while Kaliya Griffin added 11.
How It Happened (First Half):
The first half featured six lead changes and four ties as neither team led by more than six in the opening 20 minutes of play. Tennessee State held its largest margin at 14-9 late in the first quarter before layups by Lycia Peevy and Starr Taylor cut the margin to one point at the end of the first period.
Both teams traded the lead several times throughout the early part of the second quarter before Peyton Martin broke a 20-20 tie with layup with 4:39 to go in the game. A-State would never trail after that point.
The lead grew to 29-23 with a layup by Ford with 2:25 to go, but Griffin answered with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to three points. Morgan Wallace helped the lead grow back to six after a pair of free throws near the end of the half, but Tennessee State scored the final basket of the half to set the halftime score a 32-28.
How It Happed (Second Half):
A-State held a four point lead at halftime and pushed its advantage to 40-34 after a layup by Bradshaw with 6:11 to go in the third quarter.
Tennessee State quickly answered with an 8-2 run that included six points from Wooten to tie the game at 42-42 with 3:57 left in the period. Westbrook answered for A-State with a jumper to go up by 2 before the Tigers cut the deficit to one with a free throw. The Red Wolves finished the quarter on a 7-0 run that was highlighted by a 3-pointer from Ford that she hit off a loose ball in the corner with 30 seconds to go.
The lead grew to 53-43 after a jumper by Ford to start the fourth quarter, but the Tigers slowly began to chip away at the lead through the remainder of the period.
Griffin drained a 3-pointer with 3:41 to get the deficit down to 62-57 and Taylor Roberts followed with a quick layup to make it a one possession game. Westbrook countered with two free throws for the Red Wolves on the following trip down the floor, while Lycia Peevy converted a tough up-and-under layup with 1:33 left to push the lead to 66-59.
A 3-pointer by Taylor Williams got Tennessee State within 66-62, but Wallace hit two free throws with 19 seconds remaining to seal the win for A-State.
Arkansas State never trailed in the second half and shot 56 percent (14-of-25) from the field. The squad also went 7-of-12 from the free throw line, including 4-of-6 in the final three minutes.
Madison Heckert earned the first start of her career Thursday evening.
A-State is now 2-0 against teams from the OVC this season and 33-26 overall.
The Red Wolves had a lead at halftime (32-28) for the first time this season.
Arkansas State had four players reach double-figures for the second time this season. Four players also reached double-figures in the Red Wolves victory over UT Martin earlier this year.
Lauren Bradshaw had two blocks and is now two blocks away from becoming the Red Wolves’ all-time leader in career blocks. She currently stands at 131 career blocks.
Morgan Wallace scored in double-figures (11) for the first time in her career.
Akasha Westbrook reached double-figures (10) for the fifth time this season and has now done so in eight out of her last nine games.
Quoting Coach Brian Boyer:
“We found to get a win. I am proud of the way the team handled themselves in the fourth quarter and made the plays we needed to win the game. It felt like that we were just one possession away all night long from extending the lead and it seemed like we would just shoot ourselves in the foot, which never allowed us to really put them away. We were able to finish things out at the end of the game and come away with the win.”
A-State returns to the road for a clash with SEC opponent Ole Miss at The Pavilion. Tip-off it set for Saturday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. and will air on the SEC+ Network on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN App.