ATLANTA (Dec. 30) - Toledo (12-1) came from behind to defeat Georgia State, 46-43, to win the Holiday & Hoops Tournament at the GSU Sports Arena.
GSU led from the 4-minute mark in the first half and didn't lose the lead until 8:06 left in the game, a span of 16 minutes with the upper hand. With the score tied at 15 in the first half, GSU got the lead, 17-15, and then led 22-20 at halftime. GSU built its lead to seven at 27-20 and still led by six at 36-30 with 10:48 to play. When Ashlee Cole hit a jumper with 8:33 to make it 38-35, that would be GSU's final basket until 1:50. That basket at 1:50 brought GSU back to within 42-40.
The win was Toledo's 11th consecutive since a loss to No. 14 Dayton early in the year.
The physical game was won at the free throw line as Toledo converted 11-of-16 charity tosses to just 2-of-6 for the home Panthers. GSU suffered with three players having four fouls, including Tiffany Anderson, who had three in the first half as she tried to follow yesterday's double-double game, but spent more time on the bench, playing just six minutes of the first half. Anderson did not score today.
Georgia State, ranked in the top 25 in many defensive categories, held Toledo, who is No. 19 in national RPI rankings in check for most of the game. GSU limited Toledo to just 25.8% field goals (16-of-62), to just 3-of-15 (20%) outside the arc, while making 8 steals and blocking 7 shots against the bigger and more physical Rockets.
But, GSU struggled itself against Toledo's tough defense. GSU shot just 19-of-60 (31.7%) and had 17 turnovers. Toledo ended up with a 47-43 rebound advantage, thanks to 17 offensive boards.
Kayla Nolan and Kendra Long led GSU with 13 points each. Nolan had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Cody Paulk tied her personal best with six blocked shots to move into the Top 10 in CAA history with 165 career blocks. Paulk is one shy of the GSU school career record. Paulk also had nine rebounds, six points and two steals today.
Inma Zanoguera earned Holiday & Hoops Most Outstanding Player honors with 14 rebounds, seven points, three assists and two steals.
After Toledo jumped out to a 5-0 lead, GSU came right back to tie the game at 9-9. The score was tied three more times at 11, 13 and 15 before Georgia State got the lead it would maintain until the closing minutes.
"That was a very physical game and we knew it would be," said Coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener. "Toledo is a tough, hard-playing team and I had challenged the team to come out ready to match that style and level of play. And, the team did."
"We just didn't make good decisions at the end and it cost us a chance to win the game," Baldwin-Tener continued. "This was our first tight game all year and we didn't make the plays we needed to at the end. But, Toledo is a veteran team who has made those kinds of plays before and did so again today, so credit their toughness."
"Toledo banged the boards hard and got the momentum back at the end when it mattered, but we hung in there and gave as good as we got for most of the game."
The Holiday & Hoops All-Tournament team included Charlotte's Hillary Sigmon and Jennifer Halley, Georgia State's Tiffany Anderson and Cody Paulk, along with Toledo's Yolanda Richarson. Toledo's Zangoura was Tournament MOP.
Georgia State will return to action Sunday, Jan. 6 when it plays host to Old Dominion.
- The loss ended Georgia State's eight-game home winning streak (including all seven this year).
- The last time Georgia State lost when allowing only 46 points was in the CAA Tournament in 2010 when Northeastern beat GSU, 46-42. Credit Toledo's defense that has held 7 teams to 50 or fewer
- This was the 7th opponent in the 11 games this year that Georgia State's rugged defense has held to 50 or fewer points. Toledo had scored 70 or more points this season 7 times, while their previous season low was 56 in the Rockets 56-34 win over Arkansas State.
- This was the sixth time GSU has blocked 5 or more shots in a game this season, with a high of 10. Today's 7 tied for second most this year.
- GSU's defense held Toledo to a season-low 25.9% and marked a sixth time in the 11 games the Panthers held their opponent under 29.9%. This effort lowered the season average to 32.3%, keeping GSU in the Top 20 in the NCAA.
- GSU shot only 1 free throw in the first half and had attempted only 2 free throws in the first 36 minutes of the 40-minute game, despite the physical nature of play on both ends.
- The pressure defense has forced an average 20.2 turnovers and made an average 10.4 steals per game, while blocking 57 shots (5.4).
- Fast-starting GSU has outscored its opponents 377-260 (+117) in the first halves of the 11 games this season.
- All 10 Panthers have averaged 13.5 minutes per game or more to show the depth and balance of the roster.
- Cody Paulk now has 165 career blocked shots, one shy of the GSU school career record. She moved into 10th place in CAA history, supplanting VCU's 6-foot-5 Quanitra Hollingsworth, a WNBA first-round pick in 2009 who currently plays for the New York Liberty.
- Her 6 blocks were fifth time she has blocked 6 in a game. Her 32 in 11 games this year lead the CAA.
- Kendra Long's two 3-point baskets today upped her career total to 129 to edge past Carmelita Layog for third place in school history. Long needs two more to catch Monica Thomas in second. The school record is 154 by Kelcey Roegiers-Jensen.
- Kayla Nolan's double-double game of 13 points and 11 rebounds is her second of the season (11 points, 12 rebounds in UCF opener). Nolan leads the team in scoring with her 11.2 season average.
- Ashley Watson leads the team with her 35 assists in the 11 games.