CHICAGO (11/23/19) – Down by double digits with about four minutes to go, the Arkansas State women’s basketball team made a late surge, but North Carolina A&T held off the Red Wolves for a narrow 55-50 decision on Saturday in the third-round game of the Maggie Dixon Classic.
The Red Wolves (1-4) closed on a 9-4 run to cut the deficit to five with under 50 seconds to go, with all nine points coming by way of All-Tournament selection Morgan Wallace. The Aggies (3-3), however, chewed up the clock late and kept A-State from inching any closer.
For the second day in a row, Wallace led A-State in scoring with 16 points, giving her 37 points in the two-game tournament and double-digit points for the third time in four games. The Little Rock, Arkansas, junior also led the Red Wolves with six rebounds and drew a game-high six fouls. Jada Ford also factored in double figures, tallying 12 points on four threes in the first half.
Three players scored in double figures for the Aggies, led by 17 points by C’Coriea Foy. Le’On Hill notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, all in the first half, while Alexus Lessears also tallied 10 points.
A-State shot 28.8 percent as a team while giving up 21 turnovers against N.C. A&T, but also held the Aggies to 34.4 percent from the field, including just 13.3 percent from deep (4 of 30). That effort marked the fourth time in five games that the Red Wolves held an opponent to under 30 percent from three-point range.
The Aggies opened by scoring the first two baskets of the day, but after that, A-State kept it to within four before taking the lead late in the quarter on a pair of inside scores by Shameka Tubbs, who recorded a career-high 6 points in the opening quarter. The Red Wolves held a 17-13 lead after the first 10 minutes, closing the quarter on a 7-2 run.
A-State kept the foot on the gas pedal in the second quarter, starting with a 10-0 run fueled by two of Ford’s three treys within the first 15 minutes of play. However, the Aggies would keep the Red Wolves scoreless for the last four minutes of the half while going on a 6-0 run to cut the halftime deficit down to seven at 32-25. A-State led by as much as 14 on that 14-0 run that spanned nearly seven minutes.
N.C. A&T opened the second half on a 4-0 run to cut it down to a three-point game before the Red Wolves responded with three straight on a free throw by Peyton Martin and a putback by Wallace.
With just over five minutes to go in the third, Wallace beat the shot clock with an inside bucket to up A-State’s lead back up to six. Then, the Aggies went on a 14-0 run to end a third quarter in which they outscored the Red Wolves 20-5 to lead 45-37 with one quarter to play.
That scoring run continued into the first two minutes of the fourth, with Foy sinking a pair of short jumpers to make it a 12-point affair at 49-37. A-State was not going to go down without a fight, however, as a 4-0 run cut the deficit back down to single digits with 7:27 to go after Jireh Washington converted a three-point play.
After Foy led the Aggies on another 4-0 run to stretch the lead back out to 12, the Red Wolves began to chip away at the deficit down the stretch by forcing turnovers and inside scoring, primarily from the right arm of Wallace.
Wallace began the surge with a pair of free throws to make it a 10-point game with just over four minutes to go. She then was good on a fast-break layup about 30 seconds later. Wallace then found herself back at the charity stripe, where she sank both tries to cut the deficit down to six at 53-47 with three minutes to go.
After the Aggies’ Jasmen Walton netted a floater with 1:32 to go, Wallace scored again on a driving layup down the baseline and converted the three-point play with 45 seconds remaining. That, however, would be all the Red Wolves could muster, as North Carolina A&T kept A-State off the board for the last 45 seconds to close out the contest.
The Red Wolves face a quick turnaround, continuing the November road stretch with a game at Murray State at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 26. As with all A-State women’s basketball games, the contest can be heard on the EAB Red Wolves Radio Network on 95.3 The Ticket.
For the latest on the A-State women’s basketball program, follow @AStateWB on Twitter and @astatewbb on Instagram, while also liking the team’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/RedWolvesWBB.