Atlanta (Feb. 7) – When William and Mary erased a 16-point deficit to tie Georgia State with 4:41 left, the host Panthers turned defensive and made four consecutive defensive plays to lead to six points and move on to a 57-52 win in women’s basketball Thursday evening at the GSU Sports Arena.

Georgia State (11-10, 3-7)  led 28-25 at halftime and started the second half with 13 consecutive points to open a 41-25, 16-point advantage with 15 minutes to play. But, William and Mary answered right back with a 21-4 run to take the lead at 47-45 with 5:35 to go. Ashley Watson made two free throws for GSU to tie the game at 4:41. That’s when GSU’s defense stepped up with two steals, a tipped shot and a forced travel to set the tempo and get transition baskets and re-open a 53-47 margin.

William and Mary had one last chance when Emily Correal scored to make it 55-52 with 1:13 left. GSU missed three shots and William and Mary got the ball with 2.3 seconds left. A hurried three from Janine Aldridge was no good and GSU got the rebound and added two free throws.

GSU’s defense finished with 11 steals and 18 forced turnovers, plus three blocked shots. GSU scored 22 points off the turnovers. The Panthers limited William and Mary to 29.5 percent shooting and 4-of-21 from 3-point range (19%). GSU got the last rebound of the game to finish with a 44-43 advantage.

Georgia State was led by guard Kayla Nolan, who tied a personal-best with 17 points, including seven points in the final four and a half minutes. Kendra Long added 11 points and four steals. Center Cody Paulk was solid with eight points, a team-best seven rebounds, a team-best five steals and three blocked shots.  GSU knocked down 17-of-21 free throws at an 81 percent rate for some key second half points.

William and Mary (5-16, 3-7) got a sterling game from forward Emily Correal, who scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Kyla Kerstetter led the second-half rally with 12 points and a pair of treys.

“The defense won the game for us tonight,” head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener noted. “We played with a lot of heart and fortitude and it was good to get another home win. We didn’t shoot well, but the key defensive stops and hustle made the difference. The kids got discouraged after the William and Mary comeback, but they settled down and made the plays they needed to in order to win the game.”

Georgia State plays host to Hofstra Sunday at Noon in a CSS-TV game that is also Alumni Lettermen’s Day and the Play4Kay breast cancer awareness game.

TEAM NOTEBOOK

  • This was the 10th opponent GSU has held to 55 or fewer points
  • The team shot 81% from the free throw line (17-of-21) for a 5th game over 80% this season
  • This was the 12th game with 10 or more steals
  • This was the 14th time GSU held opponents to under 30% on 3-point FG attempts. GSU is top 25 in the NCAA in this category.
  • This was the 13th time GSU has held the rebound advantage over its opponents
  • This was the 10th time GSU held its opponents under 33% total field goal shooting percentage
  • GSU improves to 8-5 at home this season
INDIVIDUAL NOTEBOOK
  • Kayla Nolan tied her career high with 17 points (last year vs. Hofstra) and had her 15th double-figure game of the 21 games this season
  • Cody Paulk blocked 3 more shots to up her season total to 55 and her career total to 188. The 188 move her on up into 7th place all-time in CAA history and extend her current school record. The 55 are 12 shy of the GSU single season record of 67 by Marcquitta Head.
  • With 5 steals, Paulk edged ahead of Kendra Long in the team lead with steals with 43 on the season. Long has 42 now.
  • Junior Kendra Long had her 37th career double-figure game and cruised past the 750-career point milestone.