A-State drops heartbreaker in Little Rock

Arkansas State’s Morgan Wallace looks for an opening as Arkansas-Little Rock’s Mayra Caicedo defends during Saturday’s game in Little Rock. UALR won 60-56 in overtime to sweep the weekend series.

Arkansas State’s Stephens Center blues continued thanks to Teal Battle.

Battle, a senior forward, tied a career high with 25 points Saturday in Little Rock as Arkansas-Little Rock rallied for a 60-56 overtime victory over ASU and a weekend sweep in Sun Belt Conference women’s basketball. The Trojans prevailed with greater ease Friday night in Jonesboro, leading by as many as 17 points in a 70-63 victory.

ASU (9-9, 4-8 Sun Belt) finished the weekend with its eighth consecutive loss after it appeared as if the Red Wolves’ run of futility on UALR’s home court might end. The Trojans are now 16-0 all-time against ASU at the Stephens Center.

“It stung more in the locker room today after the game and the reason it stung more is because we invested more, and there’s something to be said for that, to come back and fight,” said ASU head coach Matt Daniel, whose team led for nearly 35 minutes Saturday.

“We’ve got to close out games. We made a couple of late-game miscues and whether it’s fatigue, mentally, physically, whatever, we just can’t have those happen. But I was way more pleased with the fight we had today.”

Battle rallied the Trojans (12-7, 8-4 Sun Belt) with unlikely 3-point shooting. She finished the game 5-of-7 beyond the arc, with all five 3-point baskets coming in the fourth quarter and overtime.

After entering the game with only 10 3s all season, Battle sank three in the fourth quarter as the Trojans rallied from eight points down to take the lead. Back-to-back 3s from Battle gave UALR a 48-46 lead with 43 seconds to play, but ASU’s Jada Stinson drove for a layup with 25 seconds remaining and the game went to overtime.

ASU led three times in overtime, the last at 54-53 on two Peyton Martin free throws with 1:46 to play. Battle connected for her fifth 3 at the 1:20 mark, giving the Trojans the lead for good at 56-54.

“The law of averages, the stats, says she doesn’t make that many shots, especially in a short span of time,” Daniel said. “We tried to make adjustments, but we didn’t make enough.”

The Red Wolves misfired on their possession after Battle’s go-ahead 3 and the Trojans controlled the rebound. An offensive rebound kept UALR’s next possession going and Krystan Vornes sank four free throws in the final 13 seconds to seal the outcome.

Tia Harvey added 16 points, including 11 in the first half, and Vornes, a former Osceola standout, scored 12 for UALR. The Trojans finished 7-of-23 from the 3-point line after starting 1-of-12.

Trinitee Jackson scored 13 points, Peyton Martin 12 and Morgan Wallace eight to lead ASU, which will visit Texas State next weekend. The Sun Belt Conference canceled the Red Wolves' scheduled home makeup game Monday against Louisiana-Monroe.

ASU trailed 13-12 after the first quarter, just as it did Friday night, but the Red Wolves owned the second quarter Saturday. Mya Love and Talia Roldan scored five points each as the Red Wolves outscored the Trojans 17-8 in the second quarter to take a 29-21 halftime lead.

The Red Wolves extended their lead to 10 early in the third quarter before the Trojans began to close the gap. UALR pulled within a point before Wallace scored in the final minute of the third quarter to give ASU a 35-32 lead.

Wallace also scored to start the fourth quarter, then sank a 3 at the 5:54 mark to give ASU a 40-32 lead. The Red Wolves were still up 42-36 before Battle connected for her first 3, followed by another 3 from Harvey that cut ASU’s lead to 44-42.

Friday night, the Red Wolves trailed for the final three quarters and were down 17 points before finishing with a belated 15-5 run.

The Trojans were 6-of-14 from the 3-point line, including a 3-of-5 night from point guard Mayra Caicedo. The Sun Belt assists leader, Caicedo had made only eight 3s all season before connecting for three Friday.

Caicedo, Harvey and Vornes scored 14 points each to lead UALR. Ky’lie Scott scored all 11 of her points in the first half for the Trojans, sinking three 3s, and Battle added 10 points.

Karolina Szydlowska and Stinson scored 17 and 15 points, respectively, for ASU. Szydlowska was 5-of-8 from the field, including 3-of-5 from the 3-point line, to score 14 points in the second half.

“I didn’t think we competed very hard (Friday),” Daniel said. “I thought we were pretty soft. That’s not typical of who we are.”