JONESBORO, Ark. (12/9/19) – Weathering through a tough start offensively, the Arkansas State women’s basketball team notched its second straight victory on Monday night at First National Bank Arena, routing in-state foe Arkansas-Pine Bluff 81-60.
The Red Wolves (3-5) started 1-of-8 from the floor, but responded well after a timeout to put together a nice night shooting the ball, connecting on 29 of 60 shots (48.3 percent) while forcing the Lady Lions (0-7) into 23 turnovers – the most forced by A-State this season. With the win, A-State has now won 13 straight in the series against UAPB and improving to 22-5 all-time.
“We’d been gone for so long that it felt like a home opener and I think we had some jitters,” head coach Matt Daniel said. “We gambled too much in the first half and did a much better job in the second half, especially defensively, holding them to five points in the third quarter. That’s a good ballclub that we were able to put away tonight. I’m proud of our group for getting this one and protecting our home floor.”
For the second straight game and sixth time this season, at least three Red Wolves scored in double figures, led by 18 points from Pine Bluff native Peyton Martin, who also grabbed nine rebounds and a career-high five steals against her hometown squad. Payton Tennison added 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting (3-of-6) from three for another strong night off the bench. In the last two games, Tennison has totaled 29 points on 10-of-13 from the field, including a scalding 7-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Morgan Wallace added 13 points and seven boards while Jireh Washington chipped in 11 points to go along with a career-high eight assists. As a team, A-State outscored UAPB by an impressive 42-8 off the bench, while also dominating in paint scoring (42-28) and points off turnovers (30-17).
Kyeonia Harris and Jayla Atmore led the Lady Lions in scoring with 18 points apiece as the lone double-digit scorers for UAPB. Trasity Totten added nine points on a team-high eight rebounds.
UAPB opened on a 12-2 run through the first five minutes until Morgan Wallace broke the run with a free throw. A pull-up jumper followed by a three by Tennison pulled A-State to within four at 12-8 with 4:05 left in the first.
An 8-0 A-State run gave the Red Wolves their first lead of the day at 16-15, but Atmore scored five straight to make it a 20-16 game with 13 seconds to go in the first. A wide-open layup by Wallace with five seconds left cut the deficit down to two at 20-18 after one quarter.
The Red Wolves opened the night shooting 1-of-8 through those first five minutes, but found their touch down the stretch, making 6-of-9 through the remainder of the quarter.
A-State opened the second on a 6-0 run capped off by another trey by Tennison before UAPB cut the deficit to 24-23 on a three by Aiya El Hassan. A Harris three once again cut it to a one-point game, but Tennison once again drilled one from downtown to make it a four-point lead with under five to go in the half.
The Lady Lions kept the contest within one score for much of the quarter until Jada Ford knocked down back-to-back threes push A-State’s lead out to seven with under a minute left. Ford tallied nine points on a trio of three-pointers in the second quarter, moving into sole possession of eighth all-time in made treys at A-State, passing Hanna Qedan (2011-14).
After a Harris free throw, Maggie Mahan drove to the bucket and drew a trip to the free-throw line, where she went 2-of-2 to end the half and help A-State take a 43-35 lead into halftime. Mahan matched her career best with four points while dishing out a career-high four assists.
Wallace opened the half by converting a three-point play to give the Scarlet and Black a double-digit lead for the first time. Martin then deposited three straight layups to keep A-State ahead by double figures, leading 52-40 with 4:53 to go.
The Red Wolves continued to pour it on, going on a 16-0 run to stretch their lead out to 26 after three quarters. Martin led the way, scoring 12 to help her squad extend the lead. In the third, A-State shot 10-of-16 (62.5 percent) while forcing eight turnovers en route to outscoring UAPB 23-5.
To open the fourth quarter, Atmore knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 66-42, but a 5-0 Red Wolves run that included a UAPB technical foul pushed A-State’s lead to its largest of the night at 29 (71-42).
Midway through the quarter, the Lady Lions managed to cut the deficit down to 22 before a bucket by Washington, two free throws by Shameka Tubbs and a three by Hailee Erickson pushed the Red Wolves’ lead back out to 27. UAPB closed on a 6-0 run, cutting the final margin down to 21.
The Red Wolves will be back in action at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday, Dec. 14, making the short drive across the mighty Mississippi River to take on Memphis. The game, played at Elma Roane Fieldhouse, will be streamed at GoTigersGo.com 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.