The loss dropped WKU to 8-19 and 5-10 in the Sun Belt Conference, while ASU improved to 12-16 and 6-9 in the league.
The Lady Toppers held a one-point lead at halftime, and used an 8-0 run early in the second half to open up a 37-30 lead on a LaTeira Owens free throw. Ashley Olvera ended the run with a three for Arkansas State, but WKU remained in front until a six-point spurt by the Red Wolves put them in front 43-41 on a Jane Morrill jumper with 8:57 remaining.
Owens briefly put WKU back in front by one as she knocked down her first three of the season, but Hanna Qedan answered with a trey for ASU. After a Quinishia McDowell jumper, Qedan buried another three to stretch the Red Wolves' lead to 51-44 with 3:21 remaining.
WKU trailed by six when Vanessa Obafemi completed an old-fashioned three-point play to make it a 53-50 score with 1:24 left. After swapping free throws, the Lady Toppers again found themselves in a three-point hole with under a minute remaining. WKU was able to get a stop at the defensive end with under 30 seconds left, but a game-tying three from Obafemi fell off with just over 10 seconds left. An offensive rebound and foul sent Owens to the free-throw line with five ticks left, and she buried both charity shots to pull WKU within one. The Lady Toppers immediately fouled Morrill, who also knocked down a pair at the line to push the lead back to three. The Lady Toppers got one last look, but Danay Fothergill's three from the left wing was no good as Arkansas State held on for the victory.
WKU got the first score of the game as Obafemi knocked down a three on the opening possession, but a seven-minute scoring drought allowed Arkansas State to jump out to a 9-3 lead seven minutes into the contest. Keshia Mosley ended the Lady Topper scoreless stretch with a basket at the 12:49 mark as WKU scored eight of the next 11 points to cut the deficit to 12-11 after a Chaney Means jumper with 10:26 remaining in the period.
The Red Wolves remained in front, stretching their lead as high as five points on a pair of occasions, but a pair of Fothergill threes sandwiched around a Arkansas State basket again cut it to a one-point game with 5:04 left before intermission. The two teams traded baskets, but Alexis Govan and Chastity Gooch scored the final two buckets of the half as the Lady Topper regained a 25-24 lead heading into the locker room.
For the game, Obafemi dropped in 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting, while Owens posted her seventh double-double of the year with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Gooch also had her second straight double-digit rebounding effort, finishing with 11 off the bench. Morrill paced ASU with 14 points while NeNe Hurst tossed in 10.
WKU closes out the 2011-12 regular season on Sunday, hosting Middle Tennessee at 1 p.m. (CST) in a televised contest on the Sun Belt Network.
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