MOBILE, Ala. (2/10/18) – Akasha Westbrook poured in a career-high 23 points, while Jada Ford added 20 as the Arkansas State women’s basketball team defeated South Alabama 75-60 Saturday afternoon at the Mitchell Center.
Westbrook scored 13 points in the second half as the Red Wolves (13-11, 8-5 Sun Belt) withstood a South Alabama (15-8, 8-4) run in the fourth quarter to cut the lead down to three with under six minutes to play in the game. A-State, responded however, and held the Jaguars scoreless for the final 3:55 as the Red Wolves closed the game on an 11-0 run.
Lauren Bradshaw also finished in double-figures with 10 points, while Westbrook lead the team with seven rebounds and tied a career-high with six steals. Ford also added four steals, finishing one off her career-high in the category.
A-State shot 46.7 percent (28-of-60) from the field and tied a season best by shooting 50 percent (4-of-8) from beyond the arc. The Red Wolves also shot 75 percent (15-of-20) from the free throw line in the contest and had a season-high 19 fast break points.
How It Happened (First Half):
A-State used a huge first quarter to grab a double-digit lead and take the Jaguars out of their offensive sets with pressure on the defensive end. A 13-0 run gave the Red Wolves a 15-5 lead late in the in the period and the run extended to run 22-5 by the end of the frame to push the lead to 24-10.
Arkansas State shot 75 percent (11-of-15) from the in the opening 10 minutes and got four steals on the defensive end that all lead to fast break layups.
Akasha Westbrook led the way with 10 points in the first half as A-State continued to play a faster pace on both ends of the floor. Madison Heckert took advantage of her size in the paint and score six points, while Jada Ford added nine points, including a 3-pointer in transition near the end of the first quarter.
The Red Wolves led by 16 with 9:32 to go in the half, but South Alabama began working the ball inside and cut the deficit down to 35-23 with 3:21 remaining, but pushed the advantage back to 39-23 after a layup by Lycia Peevy and a pair of free throw from Westbrook.
A 3-pointer and another layup from the Jaguars got them within 11 at 39-28 with 34 left, but Lauren Bradshaw knocked a jumper with five seconds left to give the Red Wolves a 41-28 lead at the break.
How It Happened (Second Half):
South Alabama slowly chipped away the Red Wolves’ lead in the second half and eventually got the deficit down to single digits with a 6-0 run to get within 54-47 with 58 seconds to go in the third quarter.
Tahlon Hopkins answered the Jags’ run with a 3-pointers early in the final period, but South Alabama again answered got within 59-56 after a 3-pointer from Candice Williams with 5:40 remaining.
Westbrook answered the trey with a drive to the basket that resulted in an and-1 opportunity, which she converted to push the lead to 62-56. South Alabama closed to the gap once more to get within 66-60, but Ford sparked an 11-0 run for the Red Wolves with a 3-pointer with 2:18 to go.
A-State held the Jaguars scoreless over the final 3:55 of the match and made five of their final six field goals to close out the game.
The 24 first quarter points were the most for A-State in the opening quarter this season.
The 41 first half points are the second most in a half for A-State this season.
Akasha Westbrook scored a career-high 23 points and tied a career-high with six steals.
Jada Ford crossed the 20-point plateau for the fourth time this season and finished one off her career-high with four steals.
A-State’s 13-0 run in the first quarter is tied for its second biggest of the season.
The Red Wolves have now won nine out of their last 10 games against South Alabama.
Arkansas State is a perfect 11-0 in bounce back games (contests after a loss) this season.
Since 2012-13 the Red Wolves are 75-29 when they have three or more players score in double-figures.
Quoting Coach Boyer:
“South Alabama was a team that coming into the week was still in position to win the league and I am extremely proud of our team. I told the team in the locker room that while I am very pleased with the outcome, I am more pleased with how the responded yesterday. I challenged them in practice yesterday, but I love the way they handled it and responded to it and you can really see the benefits of that today. We had a lot of toughness today and it is just an example of young people can respond when you can really put your mind to something and it really shows the good character of this group.”
“We had a great start to this game defensively and we wanted to force a lot of pressure and take away their inside game by denying their post entry and I kept referring back to our win at Florida because their styles were very similar and I knew how we handled it against them and I just kept reminding our players of how well we played defensively in that game and it certainly paid off t
Arkansas State returns home for the start of a three-game home stand that begins with a matchup against in-state opponent Little Rock on Saturday, Feb. 17. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. at First National Bank Arena and the game will air on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN App.