ATLANTA (Nov. 13) Arizona converted its free throws to hang on and post a 79-66 win over Georgia State on Sunday afternoon in front of 708 at the GSU Sports Arena.
The visiting Wildcats (2-0) from the Pac-12 made 26-of-32 free throws (81.3%) to go with 9-of-20 3-point baskets to secure their second win of the season. It was a homecoming for Georgian Candice Warthen (Warrenton/Warren County HS) and she dazzled with 36 points, including 5-of-8 outside the arc. All-Pac-12 guard Davellyn added 19 points with 11-of-12 free throws, while forward Erica Barnes had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Host Georgia State would never give in and had the lead back down to single digits at nine points (73-64) with 55 seconds left in their season opener. Guard Kendra Long led GSU with 18 points, but was just 2-of-10 outside the arc. Forward Tiffany Anderson added 11 points, while Chan Harris had eight points, six rebounds and four blocked shots. Freshman Kayla Nolan added nine points and five rebounds.
Arizona held a slight rebounding edge, 42-36, while scrappy Georgia State kept pressure on with 17 forced turnovers, 12 steals and six blocked shots.
In the first half of hot shooting, Arizona started with 11-of-17 baskets (64.7%), but GSU fired back with 10-of-19 (52.6%) as the scored was still 29-25 with 7:47 left. Arizona closed with a 12-5 run to take a 41-30 lead at halftime.
In the second half, GSU closed back to 44-38 at 17:12 and 47-40 at 16:39, but Arizona scored 11 straight points in the key run of the game to open the lead up to 58-40 at 10:39. GSU wouldn't quit and began to whittle back into the lead to get it back to single digits by the closing minute.
"Well, we competed hard the whole game," said head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener. "Arizona is a good team, capable of scoring in a lot of ways, but we kept coming at them to try to answer. I guess I can say we didn't give up, but we didn't win, so that is what matters."
Georgia State will have a week to prepare for a top 20 team when they travel to Florida State on Nov. 21.