PANTHERS AND GEORGE MASON MEET FOR LAST TIME

    Georgia State plays host to George Mason in their final meeting of this CAA series as GSU moves on to FBS for football in the Sun Belt in July, even though 10 of GSU’s sports are already competing in the Sun Belt.
     GSU is 9-6 at home this year, winning two of its last three CAA games on its home court in the Sports Arena. George Mason is 2-8 on the road this year, but last won on the road on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14 at UNCW). As always, the game will be broadcast live on WRAS-FM (88.5) radio.


SENIOR DAY DUO


    This will be the Senior Day for GSU’s two four-year players, Tiffany Anderson and Cody Paulk. They’ll play their final home game Thursday vs. Drexel.
    Anderson has played 105 games with 44 starts. She has scored 470 points and grabbed 341 rebounds with 16 career double-figure scoring games. She’s also had 99 steals and 100 assists at GSU. She made the Dean’s List this fall and will graduate with her degree in criminal justice. She sustained a knee injury in Thursday’s game.
    Paulk has played 109 games with 73 starts. She holds the school record for blocked shots (197) and will become the 7th player in CAA history with 200 blocks. She is closing in on 700 points, 525 rebounds with 125 steals. She’s a two-time Academic All-District, two-time All-CAA Academic pick and a CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year.


SMYRNA DAY   

   Every year, Coach Baldwin-Tener gives residents of her hometown a discounted ticket off for a game.

   Those with ties to Smyrna can qualify for the $3 discount tickets. Smyrna is where little Sharon Baldwin learned her sports at the Recreation Center. She went to Griffin Middle School, where an aspiring actress Julia (Julie then) Roberts had classes with Sharon. Sharon was a star player at Wills High (now merged with Campbell) and was state basketball player of the year and the Cobb County Player of the Year.

HALFTIME GUESTS

    Lisa's Dance Spot studio from Austell, Ga., will provide Sunday's Halftime Show. Lisa Pillow is a 30-year vet of dancing and cheerleading, chosen for Hampton University's teams and then as an Atlanta Falcon Cheerleader. They have Dancin' Divas and Dancin' Dolls at the Dance studio.

RECORD WATCH


    Individually, Cody Paulk leads the CAA and is No. 16 in the NCAA in blocked shots with 64 (2.6). Her 197 leave her 3 shy of becoming the 7th player in CAA history to record 200 blocks.  She needs three blocks to tie the school record of 67 blocks set by Marcquitta Head in 2006-07.
    Junior guard Kendra Long has made 153 3-point baskets in her three years, needing just 1 more to tie the school career mark of Kelcey Roegiers Jensen (2003-07).
    Sophomore Ashley Watson is shooting 85.9% from the free throw line (No. 31 NCAA). Only three have ever topped 85% in a season before, with Marica Maddox hitting 87.4% in 1999-2000 and hitting 86.1% in 2001-02. Watson is currently No. 28 in the NCAA.

GEORGIA STATE-GEORGE MASON SERIES HISTORY
   
    After 11 meetings since Georgia State joined the CAA in 2005-06, GSU took the lead, 6-5, with a 64-52 win on February 10.
    Last year’s overtime game was the first in the series, but three of the other games were decided by four points. They’ve met one time in the conference tournament and Georgia State won that one.
    Down 9 at the half on Feb. 10, GSU produced a 42-21 second half to win 64-52 by shooting 55% in the second half. It was tied at 44 with 11 minutes to play and GSU was up by just 2 with eight minutes left.
    GSU won the last game in Atlanta, 71-61, on Feb. 10, 2011.

A QUICK LOOK AT GEORGE MASON

    Located in Fairfax, Va., George Mason is in a suburban area about 20 miles west of Washington, D.C. The large school that was known for a long time as a commuter school, has about 33,000 students. Games are played on campus in the 10,000-seat Patriot Center.
    Veteran coach Jeri Porter is in her fourth season at GMU in 14 seasons that include stints at North Alabama and Radford.
    The Patriots returned 10 letterwinners on a 15-16 team and have 1,000-point scorer Amber Easter, with her 61 career double-figure games. Guard Rahneeka Saunders is a double-figure scorer.

The 4-Game, 8-Day GRIND

     GSU is on the CAA’s four games in eight-day grind for the student-athletes.
    For GSU, that meant missing some classes on Wednesday to fly 1100 miles to Boston. They took an academic advisor to help with study hall and all the missed classes Thursday.
   

    After the 7 p.m. tip, GSU returned to the hotel, only to have a 3:30 a.m. wake- up call to get to airport to catch the 6 a.m. flight for the 1100 mile trip back to Atlanta and try to get the worn-out students to class on Friday.  The plane had a mechanical problem and a two-hour delay, so the students didn’t get back to campus until 12:30 and missed more classes. Friday night, all the coaches hit the road to get to some gyms during the state tournaments in this recruiting period. One even flew to the midwest. One came back in from a few days in Florida.

    On Saturday, it will be catch-up homework and the film study, then the practice for Sunday’s game. Sunday is the Senior Day ceremonies for the two seniors.
    On Monday, it is a little more class and missed classes to depart at noon for the 600-mile trip to Williamsburg and a practice.  On Tuesday, it’s more homework and tutoring in the hotel for the Tuesday night game.
    On Wednesday, it’s another tough 5:30 a.m. wake-up call to catch the 7:45 a.m. flight for the 600 miles back home to try to get to more classes and more practice in with a game just a day away.
    Thursday has more film study and a shootaround before GSU plays host to Drexel at 7 p.m.

    Not much sleep, lots of airports and hotels, lots of missed classes to make up, looking for quiet places to stury and do homework, four teams film scouting study jammed together to prepare for games, and lots of tired, worn out bodies. That's what you get with four games in eight days, with two of them on the road. Whew.

For full Game Notes, CLICK HERE