JONESBORO, Ark. — A career-high 26 points from senior Payton Tennison highlighted a historic night for Arkansas State women’s basketball, helping her team to a 88-63 victory against Central Baptist College in the opening game of the Matt Daniel era.
The Red Wolves (1-0) scored the most points in a season opener since 1999 while tying the program record with 15 threes made on a school-record 32 attempts. A-State attacked the boards with authority, out-rebounding the Mustangs 64-35. The 64 rebounds is the most by an A-State team since 2001 and ranks fourth all-time.
“It’s always good to get the first one,” Daniel said. “I think there’s a lot of room for growth. As a young coach, I wouldn’t celebrate wins. I was always looking for the next one. Over my career, I’ve learned to celebrate the small victories. To be 1-0, it feels pretty good. I look forward to watching my team grow and to do it at home in a place in which I have so much pride.”
With the win, the Red Wolves extended their winning streak in home openers to three and moved to 1-0 on the season for the 25th time in program history and the first time since 2015.
In addition to Tennison’s 26 points, three other Red Wolves scored in double figures, including Jada Ford (13), Peyton Martin (11) and Trinitee Jackson (11). The sophomore Jackson also recorded her first career double-double with a game-high 17 rebounds, which is tied for fifth all-time by an A-State player.
Speaking of rebounding, Morgan Wallace attacked the glass impressively as well, bringing down a career-high 15.
The senior Tennison got things started from the get-go, drilling a corner trey on the first possession of the night. Tennison opened her career night by netting six threes in a row, scoring 18 in the first quarter alone.
“When I can knock down shots, (opponents) are going to have to come out and guard me,” Tennison said. “That frees up my teammates more and gives them a chance to score for us as well.”
Following Tennison’s game-opening three, the Mustangs took a 5-3 lead. After that, the Red Wolves outscored the opposition 22-10 to close out the quarter with a 25-15 lead on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor (57.1 percent).
A-State continued that momentum into the second quarter, surging out to a 20-point lead at 43-23 when Jada Ford nailed a three with 2:33 left in the half. The Red Wolves’ largest lead of the half came moments later, as Tennison converted a pair of free throws to make it 46-25.
Ford’s trey marked the first time the Red Wolves made 10 or more threes since Feb. 27, 2016, vs. UT Arlington. The Muskogee, Oklahoma, senior connected on four of nine shots from long range in 19 minutes of reserve action. Ford’s contributions were part of a dominant bench showing, with the Red Wolves outscoring the Mustangs 35-12 off the bench.
The Red Wolves came out of the locker room for the second half with tremendous energy, recording the first score of the second 20 minutes on a fastbreak layup by Peyton Martin. In the third quarter, A-State outscored CBC 28-17 in the third, including an 18-2 run that stretched for over four minutes.
Through three, the Red Wolves led the Mustangs 74-44.
CBC opened the final stanza on a 9-3 run to cut A-State’s lead to 23 at 77-54 on a bucket by Alexis. The Red Wolves remained strong on the boards and held off the Mustangs down the stretch.
With 15 seconds left, Williams knocked down A-State’s 15th trey of the night, matching the program record for threes made in a game on a program-high 32 attempts.
The Mustangs were led in scoring by Kory Westerman, who tallied 17 points on the night to lead three CBC players in double figures. Alexis Augustus scored 11 while Kendra Cummings recorded 10 points. Westerman also paced the boards for the Mustangs, hauling down nine.
A-State has a quick turnaround for its next contest, traveling to Tulsa to take on the Golden Hurricane (0-1) at 2 p.m. CT Saturday at the Donald W. Reynolds Center.
For the latest on the A-State women’s basketball program, follow @AStateWB on Twitter and @astatewbb on Instagram, while also liking the team’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/RedWolvesWBB.