Arkansas State Senior Preview and Player Highlights
Photo Courtesy: Arkansas State
By: Justin Cook, Publisher RedWolfReport.com
The Lady Red Wolves enter the final game of the regular season with a record of 20-9 (16-4) following their latest win at home on Thursday night against South Alabama with a score of 70-60. The Red Wolves are going for their 21st win of the season against a ULL team that possesses an impressive record of 18-10 (10-9) on Saturday afternoon at 3:05. For Arkansas State, this is senior night and the last time in front of the home crowd that Jasmine Hunt and Hanna Qedan will take the floor and will be honored in a ceremony that will take place before the game. Jasmine and Hanna are both four-year letter winners and have helped the Red Wolves to back-to-back team Academic SBC titles. The Red Wolves have already secured the number 2 seed in the Sun Belt tournament, but that will not stop them from playing for the 21st win of the season to tie a school record on Saturday against ULL. Arkansas State also made school history by finishing as the number 1 or 2 seed for the tournament in back to back seasons.
Statistical leaders for the Lady Red Wolves are Aundrea Gamble with 19.3 points and 5.1 assists per game. Jasmine Hunt has increased her rebounding average to 6.1 rebounds per game after an impressive 11 rebound game against South Alabama on Thursday night.
The projected starting lineup for the game will include Jasmine Hunt, Khadija Brown-Haywood, Hanna Qedan, Jamie Ruffins, and Aundrea Gamble. Each has been impressive this year. Jasmine Hunt has become on strong with her physical play under the basket and recorded her third double double Thursday night against USA. Brown-Haywood has become a do it all player on both sides of the ball. Ruffins has cranked up her defensive efforts to put pressure at all times on the guards. Qedan has been a three point machine for much of the year and has been a force on defense. Gamble has been Mrs. Everything for Arkansas State and leads the team in points, assists, and in my eyes plays of the game throughout the year. Gamble has also been ranked by Bennettrank.com as the 9th best combo guard in the country in all of D1 women’s basketball. Gamble also has moved into the top 10 already in assists for Arkansas State with 284 in her career. When she moves into the top 10 for scoring she will be only the third player in school history to be in the top ten in both.
Arkansas State enters the match v ULL with a 46-14 record all time. Arkansas State enters the contest with more Sun Belt Conference wins over ULL than any other team in the conference. If Arkansas State wins Saturday’s contest against ULL it will hold an impressive 30-4 record over the past two seasons in conference play.
For the Arkansas State Men’s Team they come into the game with an 11-17 (6-13) record against a ULL team that has an 18-12 (11-7) record. ULL beat Arkansas State earlier in the year by a score of 96-59 at ULL. Arkansas State is coming off of a heartbreaking loss to South Alabama that saw the Red Wolves come back from 24 down late in the game and tied it up with only a few minutes to go. USA pulled it out by 5 at the end and ended the Red Wolves post season hopes by eliminating them from the Sun Belt Conference tournament contention.
Players to watch for Arkansas State against ULL will be Anthony Livingston, Cam Golden, Sean Gardner, and Frederick Dure if he is able to play on his hurt knee. Why Livingston? Livingston has been the most consistent player for the Red Wolves all season, can shoot for percentage, shoot from three, and grab the rebounds others are unable to do. Why Golden? Expect Golden to shoot and shoot a lot. Golden has a chance to go off on the score board when he’s on, or go off the rim and backboard consistently when he’s off. There is no other way around it he’s going to shoot and to win the Red Wolves better hope he shoots well. Why Gardner? After being benched in favor of Dure, Dure hurt his knee before the USA game and Gardner came back with more fire and life in him than we have seen all year. If Gardner continues this against ULL the Red Wolves have a chance to beat a team that beat the Red Wolves by 37 earlier in the year. Why Dure? When Dure came in to the starting lineup the Red Wolves had new life and looked like a completely new team and looks to be the future for the Red Wolves along with Livingston.
What’s on the line for the Red Wolves? How about their pride and momentum going into the next year? There may be big changes coming from the Red Wolves after this game and then again there may be no changes, but it’s important for the fans to come out Saturday night for one last game of the season and support the players that have put the time and effort in this season.
ULL holds the series advantage over the Red Wolves with a record of 47-23. The Rajun Cajuns have won the last four contests against Arkansas State. Anyone remember how the game ended last year at the Convo? Payback anyone? Oh, and a secret player you may watch during this game from a scoring standpoint that you wouldn’t expect will be PJ Hardwick. Why you ask? I know, PJ is known for his ball skills and not his scoring normally, but last time against ULL PJ went off for a career high 17 points and if he does that again Arkansas State will increase their chances dramatically.
Who should you be looking out for on Saturday nights contest from ULL? Look no further than Shawn Long who leads ULL with 17 points per game and 10.4 rebounds per game while shooting over 54%.
This is your last chance to see the men’s team for the season so come out and support your team and make the convocation center the place to be. See you at 7:05 for the tip off!