The Red Wolves improved to 12-7 overall and ran their Sun Belt record to 6-1 for the first time since the 2006-07 season. A-State, which has won six out of its last seven games, also improved to 6-2 at the Convo this season. UALR fell to 9-9 overall and 4-4 in league play with the loss.
Arkansas State never trailed in the game and started out on an 11-2 run after Morrill knocked down a 3-pointer that brought the home crowd to its feet. The Trojans pulled within 12-6 with 14:04 left in the half, but A-State followed with a 22-2 run over a nine minute span that pushed the advantage to 26 points (34-8), which was the largest lead of the first half for A-State.
“I was pleased start to finish tonight with my team,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “I thought defensively we established some things and I was really pleased with Jamie Ruffins right from the start and I thought she was really disruptive on the ball. Aundrea Gamble was obviously Aundrea Gamble but yet very selective in what she did and I thought the combination of establishing the inside game early allowed us to do some other things.”
Gamble was outstanding in the first 20 minutes, scoring 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting. She scored 11 of those points during A-State’s run but also opened opportunities for her teammates with her dribble-drive penetration. Morrill was dominant inside, grabbing six rebounds and scoring seven points, to help the squad shot 51.6 percent from the field in the half. Nine of the 10 players that played in the first half scored for A-State.
“I thought our rebounding was as good as tonight as it has been from one of my teams in a very long time,” Boyer said. “I thought we were very active on the boards and in the first half I thought we did a very good job of being active and finishing strong.”
The Red Wolves led 40-17 at halftime and were never threatened in the second. The Trojans got no closer that 40-19 at the 19:02 mark and did have answer for Gamble, who added 11 points to finish with 27 points in just 27 minutes of action. It was also the 11th time this season that she had led Arkansas State in scoring.
A-State scored a majority of its points in the paint where it held a 44-32 edge. The Red Wolves also took care of the ball, turning it over just 11 times while forcing the Trojans into 16 turnovers which turned into 20 points on the other end for the Red Wolves.
Arkansas State posted its second highest shooting average of the season at 57.7 percent, while the Trojans shot 33.3 percent, including 0-7 from beyond the arc while the Red Wolves connected on 33.3 percent (3-9) from the 3-point line.
This was A-State’s fourth largest victory over UALR since the 1999-00 when Arkansas State had a 33-points (82-49) victory over the Trojans at the Convocation Center. It was also the fourth largest victory in the series for A-State, who now leads the overall series 44-14.
UALR was led by Shanity James’ 10 points and nine rebounds.
Arkansas State will next play a road matchup with Louisiana-Monroe on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 7:05 p.m. For in-game updates follow @AStateGameDay on Twitter and stay up to date with A-State women’s basketball team by following them on Twitter (@AStateWB), Instagram (AStateWBB) and Facebook (Facebook.com/RedWolvesWBB).
(Courtesy: ASU Sports Information)
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