Wilmington, N.C. (Feb. 29) - In the regular season final game between two teams who knew they would be playing next week in the opening game of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, host UNC Wilmington claimed a 64-54 win over Georgia State.
UNCW (18-11, 11-7) will be the No. 5 seed and tangle for the third time this season with Georgia State (8-21, 2-16) on Thursday in the 2:30 p.m. opening day game.
Tonight, the two differences were UNCW's 8 three-point baskets, six by point guard Alisha Andrews, and Georgia State's poor free throw shooting, 14-of-25, including front ends of one-and-one opportunities.
UNCW got 22 points and six assists from the smallest player on the court, 5-foot-2 Andrews from Stone Mountain, Ga. in metro Atlanta. Forward Karneshia Garrett added 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Georgia State got its points inside with six-foot-three junior center Cody Paulk scoring 16 points, grabbing seven rebounds and blocking six shots. Six-foot-two senior forward Chan Harris added 14 points and eight rebounds.
The key stretch of the game was early in the second half. When GSU closed to 25-23 with 18:18 left in the game, Andrews made three three-point baskets to spark a 15-4 run to open a 40-27 lead. GSU, sparked by Paulk, closed it back to five points at 42-37 with 9:50 when Andrews hit another trey. Moments later, Andrews followed with a sixth trey, the fifth of the second half, to make it 48-38 at 9:08.
GSU kept it a two-possession game several times, the last at 56-50 with 3:50 left. With UNCW leading 61-54 with 1:35, GSU missed an open three-pointer than could have started a finaly rally, but it missed.
"We lost to them on a buzzer-beater in Atlanta, and hurt ourselves tonight with the missed free throws, so we'll make some adjustments and try to be ready to get a win next week in the tournament," said head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener. "Andrews is hard to defend because she is quick to go by people and able to hit the three-point shot if left open outside. Cody Paulk is starting to make a big impact on both ends of the court for us and that opens other things up."