Lady Red Wolves win streak snapped
Published: Monday, February 4, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 17:02
Sophomore guard Hanna Qedan scored 11 and junior forward Jane Morrill scored 22 to put her over 1,000 career points, but the Arkansas State Lady Red Wolves basketball team saw their seven-game winning streak end Sunday afternoon, losing 64-62 to the North Texas Mean Green.
Instead of the comfortable double-digit victories the Red Wolves posted in their four previous games, this one more resembled a knife fight in a ditch.
Mean Green forwards Alexis Hyder and Sara Stanley were dominant in the paint, with Hyder registering 23 points and nine rebounds while Stanley had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Both used their size – Hyder at 5 foot 11 and Stanley at 6 foot even – to frustrate the Red Wolves’ post defense throughout the afternoon.
The pair also snagged 11 of UNT’s 19 offensive rebounds. The game marked the first time ASU played against a zone defense for an entire game, and it proved troublesome, stonewalling the Red Wolves’ efforts to drive inside off the dribble and rarely providing a clean look from the perimeter.
But poor shooting affected both teams, as UNT shot just 37.5 percent from the floor, and ASU shot 39.7 percent. Neither team had any luck from distance, either, going a combined 7-32 from the three-point line.
“We just seemed to shoot ourselves in the foot all day. We left ten points at least on the court in the first half [from] missed layups,” ASU head coach Brian Boyer said.
“We missed nine free throws…. We just couldn’t seem to ever put together stretches at the right place.”
The first half was closely contested. The two teams swapped buckets and frequently traded leads before an 11-2 run over five minutes put ASU ahead 25-19 with 3:58 remaining.
The last three minutes of the half consisted largely of free throw attempts, and UNT guard Desiree Nelson sunk a pair with four seconds left to enter the locker room down 32-30.
The second half was just as tight and saw a dizzying array of lead changes in the middle minutes.
ASU brought it within one with 6:24 remaining after senior guard Quinishia McDowell stole the ball from Stanley and finished a layup, but the Mean Green retaliated with a crucial 8-2 run to go ahead 64-57 with only 1:26 left.
Morrill hit a jumper 16 seconds later, and North Texas played keep-away to drain the clock. Freshman forward Jalen O’Bannon rebounded a missed shot from Stanley as the shot clock expired, and ASU called timeout with 29 seconds to spare.
Four seconds after the game resumed, Morrill sniped in a 3-pointer to narrow the deficit to two, and the Red Wolves once again called a timeout to plot their next move.
The Mean Green tried to waste the remaining seconds of the game, but an O’Bannon steal gave the ball back to ASU.
Senior guard Ashley Olvera dribbled inside but missed a layup with 11 seconds remaining, and UNT guard Laura McCoy grabbed the rebound and was fouled by McDowell. With seven seconds left, O’Bannon once again recovered the ball, but ASU was unable to get off a shot and the Mean Green secured the victory.
“We made too many little mistakes. We didn’t hit free throws. Just a lot of things we’ve been doing well we didn’t execute, and it cost us,” Qedan said.
ASU remains the leader of the Sun Belt Western Division, but Wednesday they go to Murfreesboro, TN to challenge the conference’s hottest team – Middle Tennessee State.
The Blue Raiders have won 11 straight games and lead the East.
They defeated the Red Wolves in Jonesboro 72-70 Jan. 2. The game is the first of four on the road for ASU this month.
“I hope we learn a lesson today. I think North Texas’ mentality was the mentality you have to take in these big games on the road,” Boyer said. “I thought they were just so loose [and] aggressive, and that’s what it’s going to take. We’ve got to take that same mentality into Middle this week.”
Tipoff for the match is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.