PANTHERS AND PRIDE MEET IN RE-MATCH OF 1-POINT DECISION
Georgia State’s women’s team won the first game of its three-game homestand and now faces a tough re-match with Hofstra. GSU topped William & Mary, 57-52, on Thursday to improve to 11-10 overall and 8-5 at home.
Hofstra has won nine of its last 13 games, but comes to Atlanta off a two-point loss to Northeastern, 59-57, on Thursday. Hofstra edged GSU, 64-63, on Jan. 10.
All-America senior forward Shante Evans needs 18 points to become just the 7th 2,000-point scorer in CAA history as her 1,982 are already a Hofstra record. Her school record 1,233 rebounds have her chasing the CAA all-time best of 1,313. She’s on a streak of six straight double-doubles with 19 points, 16 rebounds Thursday. That was her 63rd career double-double.
Sunday’s game is also Alumni Letterman’s Day and Think Pink Day/Play4Kay. The 2002-03 NCAA 3-Peat Tournament team will be recognized as well.
It is being telecast on CSS-TV, CSN-MA, CSN-MA, CSN-P and MSG with John Castleberry and Kiesha Brown (UGA, 2002, and 10-year pro playing career) calling the action for the 20-plus state broadcast.
As always, the game will be broadcast on WRAS-FM (88.5) with Wade Smith and Kelcey Roegiers-Jensen, beginning at 11:45 a.m. with the coach's report.
GSU is No. 18 in the NCAA in 3-point defense (25.6) and No. 44 in overall field goal percentage (35.6), while sitting at No. 85 in blocked shots (4.0) and No. 116 in steals (9.6). In other words, the Panthers are an in-your-face type of challenging defense.
When the defense is working, the Panthers can go on quick double-digit runs to build big leads or catch up.
But Hofstra lives for the steal, too, ranking No. 67 in steals with 10.6 per game to go for the easier transition baskets.
Both teams like to get the ball inside and control the boards. Shante Evans is No. 12 in the NCAA in rebounding (11.5) and No. 59 in scoring (17.3). Anma Onyeuku leads the league with 55.6% shooting. Cody Paulk sits No. 15 in blocked shots (55, 2.6) and is No. 5 in FG percentage, knocking down 51.8% as she scorea almost 10 per game. Paulk defends well on passes, too, leading the team with 43 steals.
GEORGIA STATE-HOFSTRA SERIES HISTORY
Hofstra won on Jan. 10 in Hempstead, 64-63, and swept both games last year to up its all-time series lead to 11-3. Georgia State won the only game played the previous year with a win in Atlanta on Jan. 9, 2011, (84-70) here in the Sports Arena.
Georgia State came from 17 points down and had the ball with 11 seconds and the chance to win, but misfired on its final attempt and lost in the game on Jan. 10.
A QUICK LOOK AT HOFSTRA
Located on Long Island in Hempstead, N.Y., Hostra is under the guidance of a Georgia native in her seventh year at the helm, Krista Kilburn-Steveskey. She has a 115-96 career mark in her seventh year at Hofstra. Kilburn-Steveskey played at Fayette County HS and went on to N.C. State as a player. She returned to coach high school ball in metro Atlanta and was Coach of the Year at Wheeler HS.
Hofstra has a current player from coach’s alma mater in junior Anma Onyeuku. She is their second-leading scorer (10.6) with 5.2 rebounds per game. She scored 21 points playing in front of her family against Auburn on Dec. 9.
In addition to Shante Evans, Hofstra had an All-CAA pick in defensive gem, Candace Bond, who has 270 career steals.
The Pride were 19-12 last season, marking a third consecutive year the school has won 19 or more games.
Hofstra had to leave town a day early on Friday to avoid the major snow from storm Nemo that was going to dump more than a foot of snow on campus. When the airport opens again will determine when they can fly home.
DEFENSE HAS BEEN KEY TO GEORGIA STATE WINS
Georgia State s 11-10 start is primarily a credit to the defensive efforts. This season is only the seventh time of the Panthers’ 38-season history that they had started by winning 8 of its first 10 games.
GSU’s defense has held 10 opponents under 52 points this season and allow just 59 points a game despite forcing an up-tempo, fast-paced game.
If one wants to know primarily why GSU is winning, just look at the national NCAA rankings of the 345 Division I teams and one will see the impact the Panthers’ aggressiveness is having:
• No. 23 in the NCAA in 3-point field goal defense (.256)
• No. 53 in the NCAA in all field goal defense (.356)
• No. 78 in the NCAA in blocked shots per game (4.0)
• No. 111 in the NCAA in rebound margin (+2.5)
• No. 123 in the NCAA in steals per game (9.6)
• No. 139 in the NCAA in points allowed (59.7)
More than 25 former letterwinners had responded early that they will be in attendance at Sunday's game. The former players will be honored at halftime and enjoy a post-game reception.
Nigeria native Maryam Dogo will have her own cheering section of more than 30 fans representing her country. The Enugu Men's Club of Atlanta has organized a group to come cheer her on. She serves as a role model for first-year Americans and college students from that country.
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Tickets are on sale for $5. Parking is Free on Sundays in the G Deck Lot off Collins Street right beside the Sports Arena.