ATLANTA - On Senior Day for Chan Harris, the Panthers followed script with a 74-62 victory over William and Mary as Harris led the way with a career-high 23 points.
Junior point guard Jerlisa Taylor also had a personal-best day with 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Panthers (8-20, 2-15). Kendra Long also added 10 points and five assists to give GSU three players in double figures.
GSU's swarming defense made 16 steals, blocked 5 shots and forced 20 Tribe turnovers, while holding William and Mary to 31 percent shooting for the game. In particular, the GSU defense held the CAA's top three-point scorer Jeanine Aldridge (85 three-pointers at a 40.3 rate) to just one lay-up and 0-for-4 outside the three-point arc. GSU's defense leads the CAA in both steals (10.5) and blocks (136, 5.0) and added to those today with the 16 and five.
William and Mary (10-18, 3-14) was led by guard Taysha Pye's 22 points and Emily Correal's double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds.
Harris, a 6-foot-2 forward and the lone senior on the GSU team, poured in 20 of her 23 points in the second half as she played only seven minutes of the first half with three fouls. So, she finished her 23 points in just 24 minutes of action. This was her 56th career double-figure game and her fourth game of 20 or more points, but one more than her previous best of 22 points versus Kennesaw State. Harris shot 8-10 from the field (80%) and 7-8 from the free throw line (.875).
The key stretch for Georgia State in the first half was when they saw William and Mary close to 21-20 with 9:03 left on a basket by Correal and then responded with a 12-0 run. The run was sparked by seven points by Taylor and opened a 33-20 GSU lead at 4:55. GSU led 39-29 at halftime.
In the second half, two spurts by the senior Harris kept the game under control. With the score 43-33 at 15:54, Harris scored six straight to open a 16-point margin at 49-33 with 14:45. When William and Mary closed it back to eight points at 51-43 with 9:24, Harris again responded with four quick to get it back to 12 points at 55-41 with 8:26 and it was never under double digits again.
GSU's biggest lead was 17 points on five occasions in the final seven minutes as the Panthers ended a six-game losing skid that saw them bow twice in overtime and once on a buzzer-beater in regulation.
"The message at halftime was loud and clear that we had to play the full 40 minutes and not let down like we had been doing," said head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener. "Our defense was active and a big difference today was getting transition baskets as a final result of the takeaways. We also did a good job defending the three-point shot today, especially on Aldridge. And, on offense we shared the ball well and made some crisp passes."
On Harris, the coach noted: "We were quite concerned with her early fouls because we needed her out there. We wondered how the day would turn out for her and she responded above and beyond in the second half and I'm happy the team got a win on her senior day. She has given us a lot."
Georgia State closes the regular season on Wednesday at UNC Wilmington.