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Archive for Wednesday, December 29, 1999

ARKANSAS STATE WANTS RANKING NOW

December 29, 1999

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Nine wins in 10 games. A victory over a ranked team on the road. Darned right Arkansas State believes it belongs in the women's Top 25 basketball poll.

"Absolutely," ASU coach Brian Boyer said after the Indians stole a 72-70 victory from Kansas on Tuesday night in Allen Fieldhouse.

However "

"I told the team that if we wake up next Tuesday and aren't ranked," Boyer added, "then we'll just have to wait until the next week. You can't control that."

Arkansas State controlled the last minute Tuesday night, outscoring the stunned Jayhawks, 7-0, to overcome a 70-65 deficit.

"The key is to hang in," Boyer said, "and who knows what will happen? We got some breaks. We got a little lucky a couple of times."

Boyer also had Julie Hagood, a 5-foot-9 senior who scored three of her game-high 26 points in the last minute. All three came at the foul line, including the game-winners with :10.6 showing.

"You can talk about your Lynn Prides and the other All-Americans," Boyer said. "We have one in Julie Hagood. She's a four-year starter and I can't count the number of games she's won with last-second shots."

Actually, Hagood's biggest contribution may have been a rebound.

With :50.5 on the clock, Hagood went to the free throw line with the Indians lagging, 70-65. Hagood made the first charity, and missed the second, but grabbed the carom and fed the ball to backcourt teammate Keeshia Evans who nailed a basket at :34.6 to bring the Indians within two.

"That's just Julie," Boyer said. "She refuses to give up."

Evans, a 5-8 junior, scored four of the last seven points.

"We had nothing to lose," Evans said. "We were just playing to get noticed. We came together as a team. We proved we can play with a ranked team. Sooner or later, we'll be ranked."

Arkansas State's lone defeat was a 65-62 decision 10 days ago at Marquette. Two days later, the Indians bounced back to post a nail-biting 65-64 win at Southern Mississippi.

"We've had three straight tough road games," Boyer said, "and Kansas is the pinnacle of the three."

Second the motion, said Hagood whose 26 points where about nine above her average.

"I think this shows our team character," Hagood said. "We beat a Top 20 team on the road. We knew it would be rough, but we pulled it out. We're thrilled."

It wasn't lost on Boyer that his team had seven three-point goals and Kansas, playing without Suzi Raymant, its best long-range shooter, had none.

"Obviously, them not having Raymant made a huge difference," Boyer said. "When we found out she wasn't going to play we knew we could key on everybody else."

Tuesday's game featured an unusual triple-double. Tanisha Johnson, a 6-3 senior who started at forward, had 11 points, 11 rebounds and 11 turnovers.

"The first two don't surprise me," Boyer said. "You've got to give credit to Kansas for those 11 turnovers. That and I think fatigue set in. She gave us a lot of minutes."

Johnson played 36 minutes. Only Hagood (39) logged more time on the floor for the Indians.

Arkansas State won't play against until a week from Thursday when Western Kentucky comes to Jonesboro.

-- Chuck Woodling's phone message number is 832-7147. His e-mail address is cwoodling@ljworld.com.

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