Chris Graddy, Assistant Director for Media Relations
NEW ORLEANS, La. (3/6/18) – The Arkansas State women’s basketball team saw its season come to a close with a 79-68 loss to Appalachian State on Tuesday in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference Championship Tournament at Lakefront Arena.
Payton Tennison tied a career-high with 16 points, all in the second half, while Lauren Bradshaw closed out her A-State career with 14 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. Morgan Wallace also finished in double-figures with 12 points and added four steals and four blocks.
A-State trailed by nine at halftime, but outscored Appalachian State 26-13 in the third quarter to take a four point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Mountaineers answered with a 19-3 run of their own over a six minute stretch of the final period to put the game out of reach in the final minutes for the Red Wolves.
Arkansas State concludes it season with a 15-15 overall record, while Appalachian State improved to 8-22 overall and will take on the top-seeded Little Rock Trojans in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Lapreshia Stanley led the way for Appalachian State with 27 points, while Bayley Plummer added a double-double with 18 points and 19 rebounds.
“The biggest difference in this game was the offensive rebounding and the other is the free throw comparison,” head coach Brian Boyer said. “We gave them 20 offensive rebounds and they went 21-of-26 at the line as opposed to our own 3-of-7 and that was our own doing.
“We didn’t finish plays a lot and it turned into fouls and we didn’t rebound a lot and that turns into fouls and then on our end we could never really aggressively get into the paint and Plummer does a great job of playing inside without fouling.”
The Red Wolves used a 9-0 run to jump out to an early 9-0 lead after Jada Ford hit a pair of 3-pointers and Morgan Wallace converted an and-1 play, but the hot shooting would not last as A-State went on a four-plus minute scoring drought and closed the first quarter going just 1-of-11 from the field to allow the Mountaineers to take a 15-11 lead.
Both teams improved their shooting percentages in the second period and the Red Wolves lead 22-21 three minutes in, but the Mountaineers used a 6-0 run to take a 25-22 edge. Appalachian State outworked the Red Wolves on the boards 28-21. Appalachian State took their largest of the half after Lapresha Stanley scored the final five points of the frame to take a 38-29 lead into the halftime break.
Bradshaw scored 10 points for A-State in the first half, while Wallace added eight.
A-State quickly erased the halftime deficit with a 16-4 run to go up 52-46 with 1:28 to go in the third quarter. Lycia Peevy and Tennison helped spark the run with 3-pointers to cut into the Mountaineers’ lead, while Morgan Wallace and Starr Taylor got steals on three straight defensive stands to push the lead to its largest point at 55-48 with 1:05 remaining.
Tennison led the way with 10 points in the third quarter on 4-of-5 shooting as the Red Wolves outscored Appalachian State 26-13.
Appalachian State scored five straight points to take a one point lead at the start of the fourth quarter, but Tennison answered with a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to put the Red Wolves back out in front at 58-56 with 8:16 to go in the game.
The Mountaineers responded, however, and proceeded to go in a 19-3 over the next seven minutes to build a 77-65 lead with just one minute to go in the game. A-State went cold from the field during the stretch as Appalachian State held a 14-7 edge on the boards over the final ten minutes and shot 52.9 percent from the field. They were also aided by a 7-8 performance at the free throw in the quarter.
Tennison scored all of her team-high 16 points in the second half, while Taylor added eight.
· Payton Tennison tied a career-high with 16 points. All 16 points came in the second half. Her previous 16 point outing came against Troy in the quarterfinals of the SBC Tournament in 2017.
· Lauren Bradshaw finished her career with 176 blocks, the most ever by an Arkansas State player. She now ranks in the top-15 in career blocks among all Sun Belt players.
· Morgan Wallace scored in double-figures for the second straight game.
· Starr Taylor finished one assist shy of matching her career best of seven assists.
· The Red Wolves’ 21 assists are the most in a game this season.
Quoting Coach Boyer:
“The biggest difference in this game was the offensive rebounding and the other is the free throw comparison. We gave them 20 offensive rebounds and they went 21-of-26 at the line as opposed to our own 3-of-7 and that was our own doing. We didn’t finish plays a lot and it turned into fouls and we didn’t rebound a lot and that turns into fouls and then on our end we could never really aggressively get into the paint and Plummer does a great job of playing inside without fouling.”