Aundrea Gamble paced three Arkansas State women’s basketball players in double-figures as the Red Wolves defeated South Alabama 58-51 for 21st consecutive home victory Thursday evening at the Convocation Center.
Gamble scored a game-high 20 points, including seven in the fourth quarter, as A-State (16-3, 11-0 SBC) battled a poor shooting night from the field and held off several Jaguars’ runs throughout the second half to remain unbeaten in conference play.
“We are happy to get another win and just keep moving forward,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “A lot of credit goes to South Alabama and they did a really good job of doing what they do and took advantage of their size. Fortunately we had the great start and were able to build a lead and I’m proud of this team for not letting that get away. We always seemed to get that one stop or one score when we needed to keep us out in front.”
Up 49-45 with 5:39 to go in the game, Gamble drained a 3-ponter to end a four-plus minute scoring drought for the Red Wolves. On the ensuing South Alabama offensive possession, Gamble grabbed the defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for layup and also drew a foul to convert a 3-point play and give the Red Wolves a 55-45 lead.
The Jaguars (9-11, 5-6) cut the lead to 55-51 with after a made free throw by Chyna Ellis with 1:32 to go, but Gamble drew a foul on the offensive and made 1-of-2 free throws to give her squad a five point advantage.
South Alabama turned the ball over on its next trip down the floor and Brittany Fowler drained both free throw attempts to give A-State a 58-51 cushion with 14 seconds to go. Gamble got a steal with eight seconds to go and dribbled out the clock to give A-State its longest winning at 11 games since 2004-05.
“We needed some big scores late and fortunately Drea took over and that three she made was huge,” Boyer said. “The three point play was just a typical Gamble play where she just took over.”
A-State built a nine point lead in the opening quarter thanks to a 10-0 midway through that pushed the lead to 16-0. Gamble helped continue the run with a brilliant move in the paint to get an open layup and then collected a steal on the defensive end and tossed it ahead to Amanda Lawson for an easy layup.
Lawson finished the game with 10 points.
The Red Wolves went 9-of-19 from the field in the quarter, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Khadija Brown-Haywood knocked down three, treys and nine of her 12 points in the quarter. She also finished the night with 11 rebounds for eighth double-double of the season.
The second quarter was a much different story for Arkansas State shooting wise as the team went just 3-of-19 from the field and ended the quarter on the six minute scoring drought as the Jaguars pulled within 31-24.
The third quarter was much of the same for the Red Wolves as they made just 4-of-14 shots, but South Alabama found it equally as tough to score and went just 3-of-13 from the field.
Despite A-State’s troubles on the defensive end, it never lost its edge defensively and forced the Jaguars into 24 turnovers.
Arkansas State returns to action Saturday, Feb. 6, with a 3:00 p.m. home game against Troy.