ATLANTA --Kendra Long scored 20 points and Cody Paulk added 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks as the Georgia State women's basketball earned its first victory of the season with a 70-56 win over Campbell in the opening game of the Starwood Hotels of Atlanta Thanksgiving Classic Friday at the GSU Sports Arena.
Long went 8-for-17 from the field with three three-pointers, missing her career high by just one point as GSU (1-2) handed Campbell (4-1) its first loss of the season. Junior point guard Jerlisa Taylor contributed nine points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals for the Panthers, who face Appalachian State Saturday at 4 p.m. on day two of the Starwood Hotels of Atlanta Thanksgiving Classic.
After a first half with six ties, GSU made its decisive run of the game early in the second half, building a 33-30 lead at 19:27 and scoring eight straight points, six of them by Taylor, to open a 41-30 advantage with 15:08 left. The host Panthers still led by 11 points at the 10:00-minute mark, when a trey by Kiera Gaines of Campbell cut it to 51-43. But, GSU answered with four quick points to make it 55-43 at 8:28 and the lead remained in double figures the rest of the game.
"We didn't play together today and I was disappointed in that, but it is a win, so that makes it pretty, I guess," said Coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener. "Our defense had its moments today and there was some effort involved in that, but we can still play better. Kendra Long is quicker this year and has added another dimension to her game with a variety of shots now."
The Georgia State defense forced 19 Campbell turnovers, made seven steals and blocked five shots. The Panthers held Campbell to 33 percent shooting in the second half and 36 percent for the game.
GSU, which had won 19 straight games when scoring 70 or more points before Monday's 94-74 loss at Florida State, made that 70 number work for the 20th time in the last 21 games they have scored 70.
Today, 11 different players scored for the Panthers and six different GSU players had five or more rebounds.
On Saturday, Eastern Kentucky and Campbell will play the first game at 2 p.m., with the ASU-GSU game following 30 minutes afterwards.
In the second game of the Thanksgiving Classic on Friday, Appalachian State beat Eastern Kentucky, 64-62, on a basket with 1.7 seconds left.