STATESBORO, Ga. – For the second consecutive game, the Arkansas State women’s basketball team faced a double-digit second-half deficit on the road on Thursday at Georgia Southern.
However, A-State (7-7, 0-1 SBC) could not make it two straight come-from-behind road triumphs, falling 84-75 to the Eagles (10-3, 1-0) at Hanner Fieldhouse. The Red Wolves trailed by as much as 13 early in the fourth quarter and clawed back to cut it to one with under 2 minutes remaining, but strong free-throw shooting late allowed the Eagles to hold on for the win to open Sun Belt Conference play.
Lauryn Pendleton led a trio of double-digit scorers for A-State with 16 points off the bench to go along with 6 rebounds. Trinitee Jackson dropped 10 points and 6 boards while Keya Patton also chipped in 10 points. Morgan Wallace was the game’s top rebounder, grabbing 10 off the glass.
A-State shot 39.7 percent from the field on 25 of 63 shooting and connected on 19 of 26 from the free-throw line (73.1 percent). Every player who saw time for the Red Wolves scored in the contest.
Georgia Southern’s Mya Burns led all players with 23 points, while Ja’nya Love Hill added 13. Simone James and Thaniya Marks tallied 10 points apiece. James and Tsubasa Nisbet led the Eagles with 7 rebounds apiece as Georgia Southern out-rebounded A-State 45-39. The Eagles shot 43.1 percent (28 of 65) from the floor and 74.2 percent (23 of 31) from the charity stripe, including 10 of 12 in the fourth quarter.
The Eagles scored five of the game’s first seven points before A-State’s lone lead in the outing came midway through the quarter on a jumper by Kiayra Ellis. A 7-0 run put the Eagles ahead 14-8 before a Patton trey made it 18-15 late in the period. Georgia Southern led 21-15 after the first 10 minutes.
A Jackson layup knotted it up at 23-all to cap off an 8-2 run to open the second quarter, but the Eagles hit key shots down the stretch to own a five-point lead at halftime. A-State outscored Georgia Southern 22-21 in the quarter.
Georgia Southern managed to create some distance in the third quarter, leading by as much as 12 on a three by Daeja Holmes at the 1:08 mark that made it 65-53. After a Jade Upshaw corner three cut it back down to single digits, Love-Hill netted a jumper in the paint to give her team a 67-56 advantage entering the final quarter.
A lay-in by Lydia Freeman early in the fourth gave Georgia Southern its largest lead of the day at 69-56 but then A-State picked up the pressure defensively and began to battle back. Pendleton helped lead that charge with six points of a 13-2 stretch that made it a two-point contest with 2:50 to play. After a pair of Burns free throws made it 73-69, Mailyn Wilkerson found Patton in the corner off the inbounds for the three to make it 73-72 with 1:54 remaining.
That would be as close as it would get, however, as Georgia Southern closed on an 11-3 run that included eight free throws to close out the contest.
A-State returns home to host Louisiana at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, to open a four-game home stand. The Red Wolves were originally slated to ring in the new year at home against Georgia State on Saturday, but COVID-19 concerns within the GSU program caused the game in Jonesboro to be canceled.
Thursday’s game against the Ragin’ Cajuns will be broadcast on ESPN+, while the radio broadcast can be heard on the EAB Red Wolves Sports Network flagship station 95.3/96.9 The Ticket/970 AM.