Towson, Md. (Jan. 13) - Georgia State used clutch free throw shooting and good defense to earn a 56-49 road win at Towson University on Sunday afternoon.
The visiting Panthers (9-5, 1-2) made 20 free throws in a row before a miss and finished the game 22-for-25 at the charity stripe (88%). The defense gave GSU an early lead that they kept all second half long as the team recorded 14 steals, forced 19 turnovers, blocked four shots and kept Towson to a 36.7 shooting percentage.
Junior guard Kendra Long enjoyed a career-high scoring game with 23 points, two more than her previous best, with three 3-point baskets and 12-of-14 from the line. Long also added six steals, another personal-best effort. Sophomore point guard Ashley Watson added 10 points with 8-of-9 free throws. Center Cody Paulk was a factor with eight rebounds, six points, three blocks and two steals. Freshman Morgan Jackson came off the bench with seven timely points and four rebounds in her 11 minutes.
GSU had an 8-point first half lead that shrunk to two points at 22-20. But, the Panthers roared out of the locker room with an 11-1 run in the first three minutes to build a 33-21 lead at 16:58.
GSU led by 14 points at 10:42 (46-32) as Towson tried to fight back. The host Tigers got the lead back to six points with 1:44 to play (50-44).
Long made two free throws at 52.6 to run the string to 20 free throws in a row. With 39 seconds left, GSU's Watson missed the first free throw of the game and Towson hit one at the other end to close to 54-49 with 30 seconds.
Long missed a free throw with 24 seconds, made a key steal and then converted two more free throws with 10.4 seconds to seal the win.
"That was nice to finally win a close one and should give us some confidence," head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener said. "Kendra Long was the key performer today and she sucked it up for us and played all 40 minutes in a great effort. This was another good defensive effort with steals and forcing them to do what we wanted. We took a little better care of the ball ourselves. And Morgan Jackson came in and gave us some key plays today."
Georgia State returns home to host Northeastern Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Sports Arena.
- GSU improves to 2-3 on the road this season, 1-1 in CAA road games.
- The defensive effort marked an 8th opponent held under 50 points this year.
- GSU again got off to a fast start with 6-0 and 16-8 leads in leading at halftime again. GSU has outscored its opponents in first halves, 465 to 338 (+127), putting themselves in position to close out wins.
- The 9-5 record already tops last year's final 8-22 record.
- GSU remains in the Top 25 in the NCAA in field goal defense after holding Towson to 36.7% today.
- The 22-for-25 free throw day best the 21-for-25 earlier this season as best percentage in a game. That ups the team season rate to 69.2%.
- This was only the third time all year GSU's opponent had more rebounds (34 to GSU's 33), but GSU is still a plus 6.4 rebounds over opponents on the season.
- The 4 blocked shots up GSU's CAA-leading total to 67 (4.8 per game).
- All 10 Panthers on the roster have played 176 or more minutes on the season and all scored 40 or more points and made 20 or more rebounds.
- The 14 steals upped the season average to 10.7 per game.
- Kendra Long moved up to second in school career history with 134 3-point baskets made. She's chasing Kelcey Roegiers-Jensen's mark of 154 made in a career.
- Long's hustle upped her season steals total to 31 to lead the team, one ahead of Cody Paulk's 30.
- Cody Paulk had a 3 blocked shot game, something normal for her as she has swatted away 3 or more in a game 28 times now.
- Paulk is up to 173 career blocks, ready to move up from her No. 10 spot in CAA history. With two more she moves into ninth, with three more she ties for eighth place.
- Ashley Watson made 8-of-9 free throws to up her season rate to 82.9% on 29-of-35.
- Morgan Jackson hit her two free throws to up her season rate at the line to 91.7% (11-of-12).