Leader Blues

Friday, February 13, 2009

SPORTS >> Late ASU shot sinks Trojans

By JERRY SCOTT
ASU sports information

JONESBORO – Jazmine Taylor hit a leaning jumper just inside the free-throw line as time expired to lift Arkansas State to a 56-55 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock in a Sun Belt Conference women’s basketball game Wednesday night at the Convocation?Center.

ASU snapped UALR’s five-game winning streak and handed the Sun Belt Conference West Division leading Trojans just their second loss in league play. 

The Red Wolves picked up their seventh home victory of the season, improving to 11-13 overall and 5-7 in Sun Belt play.  The Trojans now stand 19-5 overall and 11-2 in conference action.

UALR’s Marian Kursh hit a lay-up with 1:03 left in the game to break a 53-53 tie, but that was the Trojans’ last possession of the game as the Red Wolves attempted two free throws and collected four offensive rebounds before Taylor’s final shot.

Following Kursh’s lay-up, Taylor was fouled with 33 seconds remaining and hit the first of her two attempts at the charity stripe.  ASU retained possession after the second attempt bounced out of bounds off a UALR player, setting the Red Wolves up for the game-winning shot.

Following the inbounds pass, Arkansas State took the first of four final shots with 13 seconds to go.  Shania Hurst and Shay Scott collected the first two offensive rebounds and the last one went to Ebonie Jefferson, who passed the ball to Taylor for a drive that led to her last shot.

“When Ebonie got me the ball, I looked at the clock and saw there was seven seconds to go,” said Taylor.  “I just kept working for a shot.  She (Rolfe) played good defense, but I had my eyes on the rim and it felt good when it left my hand.  I thought it was going in.”

“We called an out-of-bounds play, but at that point, she was just creating,” added ASU Head Coach Brian Boyer.  “We liked our chances of being able to create rather than take a timeout and Jaz just picked the right opportunity and got in there and hit the shot.  We are very fortunate to get out of here with a win.  I don’t think we should expect anything less from an Arkansas State-UALR game.”

UALR built a 25-12 lead 15 minutes into the game before Arkansas State closed the first half with a 16-0 run to take a 28-25 halftime advantage. 

“Midway through the first half, Little Rock was obviously very good, and we were in a lot of jeopardy,” said Boyer.  “They had gotten the lead up to 12, and against Little Rock, that is a big, big number. 

“In the second half, (UALR’s) Chasity Reed was awesome.  We made some mistakes but there were a lot of instances where we couldn’t have defended her any better and she still hit them.  Our players just kept battling and we gave ourselves a chance to win it in the end.”

Jefferson scored a team-best 20 points, while Scott scored 19 and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds to lead Arkansas State. ?

While UALR shot 43 percent from the field in comparison to ASU’s .385 mark, the Red Wolves outrebounded the Trojans 39-30 and made 15 of 20 free throw attempts for a solid night at the line. ASU also scored 14 more points in the paint than UALR and recorded 14 second-chance points off 16 offensive rebounds.

Chasity Reed led UALR with a game-high 28 points, including 22 in the second half.  Anshel Cooper added 11 points as the only other UALR player scoring in double digits. 

UALR returns to action today when they travel to ULM.  Tip-off is set for 4:30 p.m.