|Updated: 12/16/2011 11:55 am
||Published: 12/16/2011 11:54 am
JONESBORO, Ark. — Led by 18 points from senior NeNe Hurst-McLennan, the Arkansas State Red Wolves (4-6) built a 12-point lead with just under seven minutes to go, then held on for a 58-56 victory over the Trojans of Southern California Thursday night at the ASU Convocation Center.
Sophomore Jane Morrill added 13 points, and junior Quinishia McDowell also finished in double-figures with 10 points. As a team, Arkansas State hit eight three-pointers in the game, including four from Hurst-McLennan and two from McDowell.
The Red Wolves led 55-43 when McDowell drained a three-pointer with 6:53 remaining, but the Trojans put together a 10-0 run that didn’t end until a free throw from ASU junior Andi Watson with 24 seconds remaining nudged the Red Wolves’ advantage to 56-53.
A deflection off of Watson’s missed second free throw put the ball back in ASU’s hands, and following a USC foul, Morrill knocked down a pair at the line to give Arkansas State a 58-53 advantage with 18 seconds to play.
The Trojans used a three-pointer from guard Ashley Corral with eight seconds remaining to cut the A-State lead to 58-56, then had a final shot at the bucket, but Hurst-McLennan altered a shot at the buzzer from Southern Cal guard Jacki Gemelos to preserve the win for Arkansas State.
“We had two big pushes in the first half and one in the second half to give ourselves enough breathing room to hold on,” said ASU head coach Brian Boyer. “And that is all we did, we just held on. It’s a great win. USC is a team that was a preseason top-25 team. And they aren’t just a Pac-12 team, they are a team that has aspirations of winning the Pac-12. We just played really well tonight.”
“It’s fun for our team and we know that it’s only one win, but it is something that our players can take a lot of pride in,” added Boyer.
Hurst-McLennan scored 11 points in the first nine minutes to help the Red Wolves jump out to a 24-14 lead with just over six minutes to go before the break, and by halftime Hurst-McLennan was at 15 points as A-State took a 30-24 lead into the locker room.
Morrill led Arkansas State on the boards with eight rebounds, with Hurst-McLennan adding five to go along with three steals and an assist. McDowell added five steals and four assists, and freshman Jasmine Hunt added six points on 3-for-3 shooting, including two buckets in the second half to help ASU build its 12-point advantage.
Briana Gilbreath led Southern California with 20 points and four blocked shots, and Gemelos added 13 points.
Southern Cal edged ASU on the boards, out-rebounding the Red Wolves 38-34, but the Red Wolves outscored USC 29-7 on points off of turnovers. Both teams turned the ball over 17 times.
The Red Wolves will return to the court Dec. 17 when ASU travels to Nacogdoches, Texas to take on Stephen F. Austin. Tipoff against the Ladyjacks is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.