Christopher Graddy, Assistant Director for Media Relations
JONESBORO – Senior forward Lauren Bradshaw collected her fifth career double-double and scored a career-high 24 points to help lead the Arkansas State women’s basketball team to a 76-62 win over Louisiana-Monroe in its Sun Belt Conference opener Friday night at First National Bank Arena.
The Red Wolves improved to 5-1 at home this season while running their overall record to 6-6. They claimed their 11th consecutive win over ULM, which fell to 3-10 overall and 0-1 in league play.
Bradshaw joined two other A-State players scoring in double figures, including junior guard Akasha Westbrook with 17 points and sophomore forward Tahlon Hopkins with a season-high 10. Bradshaw was also responsible for a game-high 11 rebounds, giving her five career double-doubles and helping A-State to a 45-32 advantage on the boards.
A-State, which matched its second highest scoring output of the season, shot 38.9 percent from the field. Although ULM was able to post a higher field goal percentage at .453, the Warhawks took 19 fewer shots and committed 23 turnovers to A-State’s 15. The Red Wolves also made 16-of-21 free throws, while Louisiana-Monroe was just 7-of-14 at the charity stripe.
While A-State raced out to 15-4 advantage six minutes into the game, ULM closed the first quarter on 9-0 run to pull within two points at 15-13. The Warhawks were able to take their first lead of the game at 18-16 early in the second quarter and still led 26-25 with three minutes before the break, but the Red Wolves went on an 8-1 run to take a 33-27 halftime advantage.
Hopkins scored all of her 10 points in the third quarter, fueling a 10-minute stretch by the Red Wolves that saw them outscore ULM 24-17 to take a 57-44 lead into the fourth. A-State’s lead swelled to as much as 18 points (53-35) with 3:15 left in the third quarter. The Warhawks were unable to get closer than 11 points in the fourth.
· A-State won its Sun Belt Conference opener for the sixth consecutive season, while also improving to 16-11 all-time in such games.
· The Red Wolves now stand 11-2 in SBC openers played at home.
· Arkansas State collected its 11th win over ULM in its last 12 matchups, running its all-time record versus the Warhawks to 27-14.
· A-State improved to 5-0 this season when at least three players score in double digits. Since 2012-13, the Red Wolves stand 69-26 in outings where it has three or more players score at least 10 points.
· Including tonight’s game, Arkansas State is 6-0 when scoring at least 60 points.
· Lauren Bradshaw scored a career-high 24 points. She reached double figures for the third time this season and 11th time of her career. The senior made a career-high 10 free throws to help her reach her record-scoring night.
· Lauren Bradshaw also posted her second double-double of the season, and both have come over the last two games. She now has five career double-doubles.
· Akasha Westbrook scored in double figures for the fifth consecutive game and ninth time this season. Her 17 points were only one shy of her season-high 18 posted against UT Martin. She narrowly missed here second career double-double with eight rebounds as well.
· Tahlon Hopkins scored a season-high 10 points (all in the third quarter), but reached double digits for the 15th time of her career. She also hauled in a season-high six rebounds
· A-State’s 76 points matched its second most this season for the third time.
· The Red Wolves’ bench outscored the opponent’s reserves for the eighth time this season.
“Fortunately things started going our way in the third quarter and we were able to start making some shots and got a little bit of separation from them,” head coach Brian Boyer said. “Lauren was great tonight and played strong and did a phenomenal on the boards. We were really pleased and happy to see Tahlon have a good game. She has had a tough go of it and it just seemed like the ball would not go in for her, but she stuck with it and kept playing hard and hopefully this will help her get going.
“The biggest thing is that we got the win at home. This is a long 18-game schedule and you can’t win the league with the first game but you can certainly put yourself behind with a loss at home and it just feels good to get that first one out of the way.”
Arkansas State remains at home for its next game, hosting Louisiana on Sunday, Dec. 31, at 1 p.m.