MEMPHIS, Tenn. (12/14/19) – A second-half surge by Memphis was tough to overcome for the Arkansas State women’s basketball team on Saturday, with the Red Wolves dropping a 78-50 decision to the Tigers at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.
For the second game in a row, A-State (3-6) forced 23 turnovers but the Tigers (6-4) forced a nearly six-minute-long scoring drought to open the second half to extend their lead down the stretch. Kayla Williams scored in double figures against UM for the second year in a row, scoring 13 off the bench on 5-of-9 shooting (3-of-5 from three-point range), while Jada Ford also added 13. In last season’s meeting, Williams contributed 15 points off the bench.
Morgan Wallace led the Red Wolves with eight rebounds to go along with three steals. Ford also nabbed three steals to tie Wallace for the squad lead in that category. As a team, A-State shot 29.6 percent from the field on 16-of-54 shooting, while going 5-of-19 (26.3 percent) from three and 13-of-28 (46.4 percent) from the free-throw line.
The Tigers outrebounded the Red Wolves 50-34 led by a game-high 17 boards by Keke Hunter, who also scored 11 points. Jamirah Shutes led all players with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting (4-of-7 from three) to lead four Tigers in double-digit scoring. Alana Davis and Madison Griggs each tallied 12 points off the bench. Memphis shot 28-of-60 from the floor (46.7 percent), including 9-of-22 from long range (40.9 percent).
Memphis scored the first five points of the day, but A-State went on a 6-0 run with Ford drilling a three before converting a three-point play to give the Red Wolves an early 6-5 lead. From there, it was a back-and-forth opening quarter with five ties and four lead changes.
A-State’s largest lead of the quarter came when Wallace drove coast-to-coast off of a rebound to make it 17-13. The Tigers closed on a 6-0 run to lead 19-17 after the opening 10 minutes.
Memphis held a one-point lead after Williams drained a trey at the 8:15 mark to make it 21-20, but the Red Wolves could not reclaim a lead after Williams connected from deep again with 2:54 left to tie it up at 25-all. The Tigers closed on an 8-0 run to take a 33-25 lead into halftime. Williams scored all eight of A-State’s points in the quarter.
The Tigers rode that momentum to 11 unanswered points to open the second half to lead 44-25, until Shameka Tubbs beat the shot clock with a driving layup for A-State’s first points of the half. A 6-0 run stretched the Tigers’ lead out to 23 before Williams drained another three with 3:05 left in the quarter. Jireh Washington then found the rim with a layup less than a minute later. With one quarter to play, Memphis held a 53-35 lead.
A-State looked to string together a rally in the final quarter, with Mya Love scoring out of the gate. As the quarter continued, the Tigers managed to string together multiple runs of four and five to expand their lead once again and holding off the added Red Wolves pressure. Love scored a career-high five points while grabbing a steal.
The Red Wolves will be back in action at Noon CT on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas, taking on reigning NCAA champion Baylor. The game against the Lady Bears will be streamed live on ESPN+ while the broadcast 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.