JONESBORO — Arkansas State wasn't up to the challenge against an in-state rival Friday night at First National Bank Arena.
The reeling Red Wolves trailed for the final three quarters of a 70-63 loss to Arkansas-Little Rock in Sun Belt Conference women's basketball. ASU faced deficits as large as 17 points in the fourth quarter before making a late run that wasn't enough to avoid a seventh consecutive loss.
"We got outworked, plain and simple. We got outworked," ASU junior guard Jada Stinson said. "They were beating us to loose balls, they were getting rebounds. Things that don't normally happen were happening today and they capitalized on all of our mistakes whether it was not meeting passes, turning the ball over, not taking good shots."
UALR (11-7, 7-4 Sun Belt) took control in the second quarter, hitting 8-of-14 from the field to outscore ASU 20-12 in the period for a 33-24 halftime lead. The Trojans answered when the Red Wolves made a run in the third quarter, making 7-of-15 from the field in the period.
Down 65-48, ASU (9-8, 4-7 Sun Belt) pulled within six points a couple of times in the final minute while closing the game on a belated 15-5 run.
"I was surprised by our effort tonight on the down side. We haven't not competed like that since UAPB (in the season opener)," ASU head coach Matt Daniel said. "But I think the schedule is funky, it's just a weird week, and Little Rock was just tougher. They're more established than we are, they were just tougher than we were tonight, and did some things they don't typically do."
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 against the Red Wolves' zone defense.
Caicedo, Tia Harvey and former Osceola standout Krystan 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 Teal Battle added 10 points.
UALR had its best game of the season from the free throw line, hitting 18 of 19 attempts.
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.
"The second half I knew I needed to be better," Szydlowska said. "I just got into that zone and just played."
Stinson scored 10 of her 15 points in the second half. She had eight points in a 10-2 run that helped ASU pull within 41-36 with 4:40 left in the third quarter, but Caicedo sank a couple of 3s as the Trojans finished the period on a 10-3 surge to lead 51-39.
Morgan Wallace added nine points and 10 rebounds for the Red Wolves, who finished with a 32-31 rebounding advantage.
ASU led 12-6 late in the first quarter, but UALR answered with a 16-1 run that spanned the end of the first quarter and the start of the second. The Trojans led 13-12 after the first quarter, then used 3s from Scott and Caicedo as part of a 9-1 run to open the second quarter.
"I didn't think we competed very hard tonight," Daniel said. "I thought we were pretty soft. That's not typical of who we are."
UALR led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter. ASU scored six straight to rally within 31-24 before Caicedo drove to the basket in the final seconds of the half to give her team a nine-point halftime lead.
ASU had 13 turnovers in the first half. The Red Wolves played a turnover-free third quarter and had just five total in the second half.
"We came to play too late. That's the issue," Stinson said. "We have to be there from start to finish. We can't be there one quarter and not the other quarter. It has to be the full game, the full 40 minutes."
The teams meet again today in Little Rock at 2 p.m.