Led by three players scoring at least 21 points, the Arkansas State women’s basketball team used a late offensive explosion to turn a tightly-contested Sun Belt Conference game against Troy into a 94-80 victory Saturday afternoon at the Convocation Center.
The Red Wolves won their 12th consecutive game to improve their overall record to 18-3, which ties the 1992-93 team for the program’s best ever mark through 21 games. A-State also improved to 12-0 in Sun Belt play for the first time in school history and extended its school-record home winning streak to 22 contests. Troy saw its overall record move to 10-11 and now stands 5-7 against league opponents.
Senior forward Khadija Brown-Haywood collected her third straight double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds, which were both team highs. A-State senior guards Jessica Flanery and Aundrea Gamble scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, while junior guard Brittany Fowler came off the bench to add 10. Flanery’s scoring production was the second best of her career, and Gamble reached at least 20 points for the fourth time over the last five games.
“I think to say that this was a big win for our team would be an understatement,” A-State head coach Brian Boyer said. “As seasons go along certain wins take more meaning and this is one of those because Troy is a really good team and this was battle and to get out of here with a victory against a team like Troy is a big reward.”
The contest’s first 35 minutes featured seven ties and 20 lead changes with neither team holding more than a seven-point advantage at any point. The Red Wolves ended the first period with a one-point lead and took a 39-38 advantage into the break.
The third period was back-and-forth as well, and Troy even held a 71-70 advantage with 6:06 left in the fourth before A-State took the lead for good on a pair of Dominque Oliver free throws 10 seconds later. Still ahead by just three points, 75-72, with 3:38 remaining on the clock, the Red Wolves exploded for a 14-2 run in a span of just over two minutes to create some breathing room.
The run saw A-State score on five of its six possessions, including three pointers by Gamble and Flanery and old fashioned three-point plays by Lauren Bradshaw and Brown-Haywood, who scored 21 points and 10 rebounds in the second half alone on her way to her ninth double-double this season.
“From a team standpoint I thought weathering that second quarter was huge for us,” Boyer said. “With Khadija and Brittney Gill in foul trouble it was all we could do to keep things under the control. Then in the fourth quarter it was just a matter of stringing together three or four stops to stretch out the lead a little bit.”
The Red Wolves completed the game with 12 three pointers and 22 free throws, both season highs, and their second highest totals this year for points scored and assists (20). Flanery alone tied her career high for three-point field goals with six, which also tied the fourth most in school history.
The squad also tied their second highest output for rebounds (46) and blocked shots (6) this season. A-State ended the game with a 45.5 field goal percentage in comparison to Troy’s 42.7, and the Red Wolves collected nine more rebounds.
The Trojans were led by three players scoring in double digits, including Ashley Beverly Kelley with a team-high 32 points that were only one shy of her season high.
A-State will begin a four-game road swing Thursday, Feb. 11, with a 5:00 p.m. contest at Louisiana-Lafayette.