JONESBORO, Ark. (2/17/18) – The Arkansas State women’s basketball team was able to pull within a one-possession score of Little Rock three times in the fourth period after trailing by as many as 12 points in the second half, but was never able to pull ahead of the Sun Belt Conference-leading Trojans in a 64-58 setback Saturday afternoon at First National Bank Arena.
A-State, which entered the game having won three of its last four outings, saw its record move to 13-12 overall and to 8-6 in Sun Belt action. Little Rock bounced back from its first conference loss its last time out at Troy to improve its overall record to 16-9, and it now holds a 13-1 league mark.
The Red Wolves were led by two players scoring in double figures, including sophomore guard Jada Ford with a team-high 16 points and junior guard Akasha Westbrook with 12. Westbrook, A-State’s leading scorer on the year, fouled out with over seven minutes left in the game, but still recorded five steals as well.
Paced by three players scoring in double digits, including Keanna Keys with a team-high 16 points, the Trojans finished the game with a .509 shooting percentage in comparison to the Red Wolves’ .432. Little Rock also held a 29-25 advantage on the boards and had one fewer turnover than A-State.
How It Happened (First Half):
Arkansas State took its only lead of the game on its first possession, but still had the game tied 11-11 before Little Rock closed the opening period’s final 3:06 with a 10-1 run to take a 21-12 lead.
The Trojans built their lead to 11 points three times in the second period, the last a 32-21 advantage with 3:48 left before the break. The Red Wolves responded with a 5-0 run to cut the margin to six, although Little Rock made the last bucket of the half to go into the locker room up 34-26.
How It Happened (Second Half):
The Trojans scored the first four points of the second half to take its largest lead of the game at 38-26, and they still led by 10, 46-36, with just under three minutes left in the third period. The Red Wolves were able to cut their deficit down to three points on two different occasions late in the period, but still entered the fourth trailing 50-45.
Arkansas State again made it a one possession-game two different times early in the fourth and got as close as two points, 56-54, following a Ford three-pointer with 5:28 remaining. However, Little Rock scored the game’s next four points on back-to-back possession and extended its lead back to 63-56 at the 2:55 mark.
The Red Wolves scored their final bucket, a layup by sophomore guard Payton Tennison, 21 seconds later to make the score 63-58, but neither team scored the rest of the way outside of one Little Rock free throw to set the final score.
Arkansas State dropped its first game this season when recording at least 20 points off turnovers, bringing its record in such games to 6-1.
A-State recorded 10 steals, tying their second most in a game this season for the fourth time.
The Red Wolves attempted just eight shots from beyond the arc for the second consecutive game, which is their second fewest this season. They took a season-low six 3-point shots in their first meeting with Little Rock.
Sophomore guard Jada Ford scored a team-high 16 points, marking the 12th time this season and 21st time of her career she has posted a double-figure points total. She has now scored at least 11 points in each of the last four games.
Junior guard Akasha Westbrook finished with 12 points, giving her a double-figure total in 21 games this year and 23 during her career. She has scored at least 10 the last three games in a row.
Quoting Coach Boyer:
“Just as a whole we didn’t have a very good start to this game, but after that we played better and I credit our team for that. We won the second and third quarters and the third quarter was a bit of a tossup, so outside of the first quarter I liked the way we competed. We did some good things offensively and got the ball inside at times and penetrated at times and those things are difficult to do against Little Rock.”
“Defensively we tried to mix things up and had success with that but the biggest thing I think we will look back on is the 21 turnovers. Anytime you play Little Rock, because of the limited number of possessions, everything is magnified and you just aren’t going to win a game like this with that many mistakes.”
The Red Wolves will host Appalachian State on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. at First National Bank Arena. The game will air on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN App.