Aundrea Gamble scored 19 points and Khadija Brown-Hayward grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds as second-seeded Arkansas State pulled away midway through the second half for a 67-52 quarterfinal win over Appalachian State on Wednesday night in the Sun Belt Conference women’s basketball tournament in Lakefront Arena.
After the teams split their regular season meetings, the Red Wolves (22-9) led 47-42 before going on a 19-6 to take control. Arkansas State advances to a semifinal against the winner of Wednesday’s late game between the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Troy.
Maryah Sydnor had 16 points and 10 rebounds for No. 7 seed Appalachian State (14-16), which led only once, 7-5, and trailed 34-23 at the half.
UALR 71, GEORGIA STATE 54: The Arkansas-Little Rock women’s basketball team never trailed in a comfortable victory over Georgia State.
First-team All-Sun Belt guard Taylor Gault scored 23 points, one off her season high, and Alexius Dawn chipped in with 18 points for top-seeded UALR (26-4).
The eighth-seeded Panthers fared no better than in the teams’ two regular season meetings, which they lost 75-55 at home and 56-39 on the road. At least they kept it close for a little longer, getting within 28-22 on a 3-point play by Brittany Logan with 1:50 left in the first half before Arkansas-Little Rock went on a 5-0 run.
The Trojans still led only 54-45 with 8:30 left, but McDonogh 35 product Kaitlyn Pratt scored six of her eight points on three layups over the next five minutes to seal the victory.
“Kaitlyn was more aggressive today,” UALR coach Joe Foley said. “If she can stay aggressive, that’s what we need.”
Logan had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Georgia State (13-17), which lost four of its last five games.
TEXAS STATE 52, UT ARLINGTON 46: The fourth-seeded Bobcats (17-13) won the battle of Texas, advancing to the semifinals for the second consecutive year. Texas State will play Arkansas-Little Rock at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
Just like the first two meetings, this one was close from start to finish and ended the same way: with Texas State winning. Trailing 48-44, fifth-seeded UT Arlington (17-13) had two chances to get closer in the final minute but turned the ball over once and had a shot blocked the other time. Texas State’s Meghan Braeuer then hit four straight free throws to ensure the victory.
Braeuer paced the Bobcats with 13 points, while Cierra Johnson led the Mavericks with 16 points, nine rebounds and five steals.
Neither team shot well. UT Arlington was 17-of-54 from the field, and Texas State was 17 for 55. The Bobcats will need to be much sharper against Arkansas-Little Rock, which beat them by 20 and 27 points in the regular season.