UTA Win Sets Up Key Showdown

While league leading Arkansas State was making easy work of UTA, second place Texas State was able to keep pace by defeating South Alabama 63-61.

With the win over Texas-Arlington, only Texas State (1 1/2 games back), Western Kentucky, Arkansas-Little Rock and Georgia State (all three are 2 1/2 games back) remain in mathematical contention in the Sun Belt. Western Kentucky having lost twice to Arkansas State is eliminated with one more loss or one AState win.

Georgia State defeated ULM in Atlanta 85-77 to remain in contention.

A win by Arkansas State on Saturday at the Convocation Center would mean Texas State would be eliminated with one additional loss or one additional AState win.

The game recap from AState.

JONESBORO, Ark. (2/19/14) – Led by three players scoring in double figures, the Arkansas State women's basketball team knocked off Sun Belt Conference foe UT Arlington, 73-47, Wednesday night at the Convocation Center to maintain its place atop the league standings.

The Red Wolves improved to 17-9 overall and 11-3 in Sun Belt play, keeping a 1.5-game lead over second-place Texas State in the conference race. A-State's 17 victories are its most since posting 18 in 2010-11, and it also improved to 8-2 at home this year. UTA dropped to 3-21 overall and 2-11 in SBC action this season.

Arkansas State was led by sophomore guard Aundrea Gamble with 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists, all team highs. Sophomore forward Jalen O'Bannon added 15 points, tying her second most this season, and senior forward Carlisha Wyatt chipped in a season-high 10.

"I was very pleased with this performance and there was really only one end of the court that I was really paying attention to and that was the defensive end after our performance down at Lafayette," said A-State head coach Brian Boyer, who collected his 134th career Sun Belt Conference victory "In practice this week we really harped on some things defensively and I was really impressed some things the team did and we set a goal at halftime to hold them to 50 or less points at halftime and I was pleased that we were able to do that."

Boyer now needs one more Sun Belt Conference victory to tie the most ever by one of the league's all-time head coaches. Former Louisiana Tech coach Leon Barrmore and Florida International coach Cindy Russo currently hold the record with 135 SBC wins.

UT Arlington scored the game's first five points, but A-State immediately responded with a 14-0 run to retake control early. The Red Wolves extended their lead to 25-13 with 8:49 left in the first half, but the Mavericks went on a 7-0 run over the next two minutes to pull back within five points.

A-State answered with another big run, outscoring UTA 13-2 to take a 38-22 lead with 2:30 left before the break. The Mavericks were able to cut the deficit to 14, 40-26, at halftime, but never got any closer. The Red Wolves scored the first 12 points in the second half and built their lead to as much as 71-38 with just less than four minutes left in the game.

While UTA held a 39-37 advantage on the boards, the Red Wolves posted a .443 shooting percentage in comparison to UTA's .377 and also recorded two more assists (12) and eight more steals (13). A-State took advantage of 25 UTA turnovers, which it turned into 27 points, as well.

The Red Wolves had nine players score and six who finished with at least five points as its bench outscored the Mavericks' reserves 31-14. UTA was led senior center Desherra Nwanguma with 22 points and 11 rebounds, both game highs.

Tonight's game was the first of four home outings for Arkansas State over its final five regular-season contests. The Red Wolves return to action Saturday, Feb. 22, when they host Texas State at 3:05 p.m. in a key Sun Belt Conference game at the Convocation Center.

Arkansas State will first return to the Convocation Center for a matchup with Texas State on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 3:05 p.m. For in-game updates follow @AStateGameDay on Twitter and stay up to date with A-State women's basketball by following the team on Twitter (@AStateWB), Instagram (AStateWBB) and Facebook (Facebook.com/RedWolvesWBB).