AState WBB Vs USA Recap
Photo Courtesy: Arkansas State
By: Justin Cook, Publisher RedWolfReport.com
The only thing cold coming into this game was the weather outside. The Red Wolves have been on fire this season and entered the game scoring an average of 71.6 points per game and had a record of 19-9 (14-4) overall. USA had a record of 5-22 (2-16) coming into the game and was being led by Breanna Hall averaging 15.4 points per game. Arkansas State leaders coming into the game were Aundrea Gamble with 19.4 points per game and 5 assists per game. Jasmine Hunt led the Red Wolves in the rebounding department with 5.9 boards per game.
The Red Wolves needed only one game coming into tonight’s matchup to secure the 2 seed for SBC tournament. The Red Wolves had recently suffered a loss at Texas State falling 83-74 on February 28, 2015. The Red Wolves had 5 players scoring in double figures and were led by Junior All-American candidate Aundrea Gamble with 20 points. South Alabama entered the game losing 7 out of their last 8 games.
Arkansas State was averaging 71.6 points per game, shooting 45% from the field, 33% from three, 68% from the free throw line, had 12.9 assists per game, 8 steals per game, and 2.4 blocks per game. The only statistic the Jaguars led the Red Wolves in was blocks per game with 4.2
This was the 43rd meeting between the two schools and Arkansas State led the series 32-10 and had won the previous 4 contests.
Aundrea Gamble, the 9th best combo guard in the country in all of Division 1 basketball as rated by BennettRank.com had a slow start for Arkansas State by her standards, but was finding way to involve the teammates around her from the start of the game until the finish of the game. Aundrea Gamble came away from the first half with 9 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and two steals. Gamble, who played 39 out of a possible 40 minutes, led her team with intensity and determination throughout the first half by setting the tone for the up tempo style of play that Brian Boyer is known for.
The game plan for South Alabama was clear from the beginning of the game. USA was physical with Gamble and company from the opening tipoff just as they’ve seen teams before them do as well. It never failed, Aundrea Gamble had the ball and Aundrea Gamble was preparing to hit the floor. Gamble didn’t let the pressure on her affect her too bad, as she and her crew cranked up the pressure on South Alabama by fighting for boards, playing physical and finishing each play strong, and they had guards pressuring every in-bound and pressuring full court in an attempt to speed the game up and cause turnovers.
With 10 minutes to go in the half Arkansas State possessed a lead of 20-13. At the time, they were on pace to score above their game average and looked to be on a roll. Gamble and Brown-Haywood accounted for 14 of the 20 points and looked to be a dynamic duo. South Alabama tried to take a page from the Arkansas State defensive playbook and crank up their own full court pressure with minutes left in the half.
Brittney Gill, though not statistically, gave Arkansas State a huge boost off of the bench with her intensity and physical style of play. Gill was slashing through the defenses and played in your face defense that assisted in the Red Wolves forcing a total of 12 turnovers in the first half.
The play of the first half came with 8:00 to go when Aundrea Gamble was pushing the ball down the floor in a hurry. Gamble had 5 defenders in front of her and only one Red Wolf in front of her. Somehow, Hanna Qedan slips in behind the defense and Gamble hit her with a no look pace through 5 defenders and the crowd erupted. This basket seemed to settle Qedan into the game and got her back on track and allowed her to account for 8 total points in the first half to go along with 1 rebound and 1 steal.
Overall, the first half ended with Arkansas State up 34-31 over South Alabama. ASU scored 18 points in the paint, 14 off turnovers, 7 off second chances, 2 off fast break, and 6 off of the bench. Arkansas State shot 36% from the field, 40% from three, and 72% from the free throw line. Arkansas State forced 12 first half turnovers, had 21 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Arkansas State allowed 8 points in the paint, 5 off turnovers, 5 off 2nd chance, and 2 off fast break and had 11 bench points.
The second half started quick for the Lady Red Wolves as they jumped on USA with a 6-0 run early. Aundrea Gamble and Jasmine Hunt brought the intensity during the second half for the Red Wolves. With under 16:00 to go Gamble drove to the lane and missed, Hunt out muscled USA and got the ball right back to Gamble, who hit the hole and scored the bucket. The intensity at this point was high and girls were Hustling all over the floor. Jasmine Hunt started the second half with only 4 points, all coming by way of free throws during the first half. During the second half, the light switch turned on and Hunt imposed her will for the remainder of the game accounting for 16 more points during the second half, and totaled 11 rebounds for her third career double double.
Half way through the second half the girls seemed to lose their energy and the intensity started decreasing. The scoring was slowing down at moments, but then would kick right back in shortly after. The Red Wolves were continuing to get physically beaten down throughout the second half. Aundrea Gamble took shot after shot and with 3:20 to go in the half she took one to her back that looked like a form tackle. The crowd went insane and the refs thought it deserved a no call and the fans let them hear about it. Gamble just stood up and with class shook it off and continued to play.
For the next minute, USA would take a shot and get the rebound for a minute straight. South Alabama seemed to have momentum, but then they mistakenly stepped on the line and turned the ball over to Arkansas State and in essence ended their momentum and their chance at making a run. ASU was only up two at this point and Gamble was fouled and hit both shots from the line. ASU got the rebound at the other end on the ensuing possession for USA and Gamble came right back and nailed a three to give Arkansas State an even bigger lead.
The game ended with Brown-Haywood scoring 13 points, Hunt had her third career double double with 20 points (10-15 from free throw line) and she had 11 rebounds, Qedan broke out of her slump and scored 11 points, Aundrea Gamble continued to dominate with 18 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists, and had 4 steals.
Arkansas State shot 33% from the field, 33% from three, and 76% from the free throw line. At the end of the game, Arkansas State had scored a total of 70 points (1 below their average), 47 rebounds (WHAT?!), 12 assists, had 15 turnovers, 1 block, and 5 steals.
After the game we caught up with Jasmine Hunt, Aundrea Gamble, and Brian Boyer to get there thoughts on the game.
Jasmine Hunt was glad they could pull together during a tough game to get the win. Gamble stated that when shooting 33% for the game they didn’t feel it was anything USA was doing to them, but that they’re shots just weren’t falling because Gamble felt they were getting good looks on their shots.
For Jasmine Hunt, she has only one more game in front of the Red Wolves fans in the convocation center. When asked about this, Hunt paused and stated that it hasn’t sunk in yet. We’ve heard all year from the players how great the fans are with their support and no one deserves that support more on Saturday at 3:05 when they Ladies take on ULL than Jasmine Hunt.
The Red Wolves take on ULL Saturday in what some would call a meaningless game. The Red Wolves have locked up the 2 seed, but these ladies consider nothing to be meaningless. They plan on using this game as a pre-tournament warm up game to get them going says Gamble. Gamble stated that they cannot take this game lightly. As we’ve seen in other sports, teams are now becoming wary of allowing their star players to rest before a playoff or tournament due to the scare that they could go into the game rusty, and the plan for the Red Wolves is to play the game like any other game. Gamble does acknowledge that it would be nice to get up big so that she can come out and take a break. For those who have watched the games this year you know that Gamble usually plays 38-39 minutes a game and a break is much needed and deserved. Boyer stated that with this game there is still a lot at stake. He says they now have a 20 win regular season, but that they have a chance for 21 wins to tie the school record. He says there is no comparison that 21 is much better than 20, but that both are much better numbers than they used to be with the competition these days.
So why is the game Saturday so important aside from wanting the extra win to get to 21 and tie the school record? The answer is that the Lady Red Wolves have their sights on the NCAA tournament. If they win the Sun Belt tournament they’re in no matter what. If they win the game Saturday and can still make the finals of the tournament they still have a great shot of an at large bid to make the tournament due to their win total and total RPI. Boyer says they’re already in discussions with the NCAA for an at large bid at this time. Right now, Arkansas State has an RPI of 46 trailing only UALR with a 37 RPI for the top two ratings in the SBC. Arkansas State did not even crack the top 100 last year. This is the highest ranked RPI for the Red Wolves since they were 67th during the 04-05 season.
Coach Boyer was happy to get the win. It was a battle and it was what they expected to get out of USA. Boyer was pleased with the start of the game and was happy with the lead they built early in the first half. The first half overall went well for Boyer, but he wasn’t as happy after the last media timeout. He felt they started to let USA back into the game after the last media timeout in the first half and gave USA some momentum.
The second half started out strong for the Red Wolves as well said Boyer. Both starts to the half were strong he said. He was very proud of how Jasmine Hunt played and proud that she got another double double against USA. Hunt finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Boyer was very pleased with the free throw shooting overall as well. The Red Wolves were 20-26. The only misses came from Hunt with 5 and Lawson with 1. 3 Red Wolves were perfect from the line. Brown-Haywood, Qedan, and Gamble all saw their free throws hit the bottom of the net.
The point to work on before Saturday’s game against ULL will be defense for the Red Wolves. The Red Wolves seemed to have great stretches of defense during the game, but Boyer said they had lapses in pressure many times. They had USA uncomfortable then would start letting them get quick scores. If the Red Wolves can string together a game of solid defense without the lapses to go with this potent offense, they could be virtually unstoppable.
Official Basketball Box Score — Game Totals — Final Statistics
South Alabama vs Arkansas State
3/5/2014 5:05 p.m. at Jonesboro, Ark. (Convocation Center)
South Alabama 60 – 5-22, 2-16 SBC
|##||Player||S||FG-FGA||3PT FG-FGA||FT-FTA||Off Reb||Def Reb||Tot Reb||PF||TP||A||TO||Blk||Stl||Min|
|FG %||1st Half:||11-25||44.0%||2nd Half:||10-25||40.0%||Game:||21-50||42.0%||Deadball|
|3FG %||1st Half:||5-7||71.4%||2nd Half:||2-8||25.0%||Game:||7-15||46.7%||Rebounds|
|FT %||1st Half:||4-6||66.7%||2nd Half:||7-9||77.8%||Game:||11-15||73.3%||3,0|
Arkansas State 70 – 19-9, 14-4 SBC
|##||Player||S||FG-FGA||3PT FG-FGA||FT-FTA||Off Reb||Def Reb||Tot Reb||PF||TP||A||TO||Blk||Stl||Min|
|FG %||1st Half:||12-33||36.4%||2nd Half:||11-36||30.6%||Game:||23-69||33.3%||Deadball|
|3FG %||1st Half:||2-5||40.0%||2nd Half:||2-7||28.6%||Game:||4-12||33.3%||Rebounds|
|FT %||1st Half:||8-11||72.7%||2nd Half:||12-15||80.0%||Game:||20-26||76.9%||3,0|
Officials: Eric Baker, Tim Buckner, Ty Bills
Technical Fouls: South Alabama- None. Arkansas State- None.
Largest lead – South Alabama by 5 1st-17:18;
Score tied – 0 times