Warhawk Women Fall to Arkansas State, Thanks to Late Run

Local Sports

Jonesboro, Ark. – A 9-0 fourth quarter run provided Arkansas State all the separation it would need, as the Red Wolves held off the ULM women’s basketball team 64-54 Saturday afternoon at First National Bank Arena.

The game featured five ties and 13 lead changes, but the 9-0 run spanning just under two-and-a-half minutes midway through the fourth quarter turned a one-point Arkansas State lead at 49-48 into a 10-point advantage at 58-48 with 4:41 left on free throws by Peyton Martin.

“Certainly not frustrated with the effort,” said head coach Jeff Dow. “I thought we played plenty hard enough. I can’t really question that. It felt like there was about a three-minute stretch in the fourth quarter where it kind of got away from us. It was essentially a one possession game, and all of a sudden the deficit balloons to 10. Now you’re facing an uphill climb and offensively you’re probably pressing a little bit, trying to take some shots you wouldn’t normally take.”

ULM (6-7 overall, 0-2 Sun Belt) limited Arkansas State’s (7-6, 2-0) top four scorers on the season to subpar scoring days, but Jada Ford gave the Red Wolves a lift off the bench. Ford hit her first six shots from the floor, including five 3-pointers, on her way to a season-high 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting and 6-of-7 three-point shooting.

“A lot of credit to Arkansas State,” Dow said. “Jada Ford with an unbelievable game. We’re certainly very familiar with her and how well she can shoot it. To her credit, a handful of those six threes that she made, we were right in her face, it was contested. The kid shoots it really well, knocked them down and made us pay. If you look at the final margin of the game, that was certainly a big part of it.”

The Warhawks limited ASU’s leading scoring, Martin, to 10 points, while second-leading scorer Akasha Westbrook had eight points.

“I did think our post players did a pretty good job neutralizing Martin, considering the huge game she had the other night against Lafayette,” Dow said. “The same with Westbrook, they weren’t huge factors by any means. It’s kind of a risk/reward, you know if you’re playing a fair amount of zone like we were, the thought behind it was were going to try and slow down their drives, and all things considered we probably did do that, but Ford made us pay.”

Trailing 7-2 early in the game, ULM used an 8-2 run to take the lead, with Lauren Fitch scoring the final six points of the run to lead 10-9 midway through the first quarter. With the game tied at 15 following an Arsula Clark jumper, Arkansas State held ULM scoreless over the final two minutes and 30 seconds of the quarter to lead 18-15 after one.

The Red Wolves led by as much as five in the second quarter, but the Warhawks responded. Amber Thompson scored five straight points to tie the game, and Destini Lunsford gave ULM the lead with her only 3-pointer of the night. Diamond Brooks connected for a layup to give ULM its largest lead of the night at 27-23 with 4:25 to play in the quarter. However, ULM would not score again, as Arkansas State closed the quarter on a 7-0 run to lead 30-27 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Arkansas State would lead by four, but ULM surged back again in the middle part of the quarter. Fitch canned a pair of threes around a three-ball from Ford to put ULM up 41-40 with 4:32 left in the quarter. However, the Red Wolves used a 7-0 run to regain the lead and would not relinquish it the rest of the game.

Clark finished with her second double-double of the season to pace ULM with 18 points and 12 rebounds, including six offensive rebounds.

“As much as (Clark) was around the rim, whether it was o-boards or drives, needless to say, I was taken aback to see the fact that she only went to the free throw line one time,” Dow said. “Definitely was making plays, I thought she had some great assists on occasion, some drive-and-dishes, some drive-and-kicks for people that got some open looks from three, so that was good to see. Teams are going to game plan defensively around trying to slow her down, and it’s nice to see her be effective as she was.”

Fitch added 14 points while Thompson had 12 for ULM. Dow also credited the play of Sheniqua Coatney.

“I know the stats aren’t huge, but I thought Sheniqua Coatney did a couple good things,” Dow said. “Had a nice finish around the rim, took a charge, got a steal, made a few plays here or there.”

ULM shot 36 percent from the field (21-of-59), 32 percent from 3-point range (6-of-19) and made all six of their free throws. Arkansas State shot 39 percent from the field (20-of-52), 47 percent from 3-point range (9-of-19) and 15-of-22 from the free throw line at 68 percent. ULM out-rebounded Arkansas State 39-33, and outscored the Red Wolves in the paint 22-16 and in second chance points 12-7.

ULM returns to Fant-Ewing Coliseum to host Georgia Southern on Thursday with tip-off at 6:30. Ticket information is available at ULMWarhawks.com or by calling 318-342-HAWK. Links to live video and radio streams, as well as live stats are available at ULMWarhawks.com.

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