Fairfax, VA (Jan. 27) - Georgia State shot 55.6 percent in the second half to rally from a nine-point halftime deficit and claim a 64-52 win over George Mason on Sunday afternoon in front of 1,942 fans at the Patriot Center.
The visiting Panthers outscored Mason 42-21 in the second half by making 15 of 27 shots and 8-of-10 free throws. Meanwhile, the defense was holding the host Patriots to 20 percent on 4-of-20 field goals and forcing 11 turnovers.
Georgia State (10-8, 2-5) got 18 points from 6-foot-3 center Cody Paulk, 15 of those points coming in the second half. Paulk was 6-for-7 in the second half, while posting a double-double with 12 rebounds to go with the 18 points. She also blocked two shots.
GSU made seven three-point shots to tie its season high. Four players were in double figures, including Kayla Nolan's 12 points, plus Kendra Long and Miranda Smith's 11 points. Long and Nolan each added four assists.
George Mason (6-12, 1-6) was led by Rahneeka Saunders with 10 points, five rebounds and three assists.
Georgia State wasted no time in the second half, bursting out on a 16-4 run to erase a 31-22 deficit and turn it into a 38-35 lead at 15:49.
Mason rallied to force a tie at 44-44 with 11 minutes left and the teams traded baskets with GSu up 50-48 with 8:09 left. Then, GSu went on a 10-0 over the next four minutes to make it 60-48 with 3:30 to go.
"I am certainly proud of the way the team fought back and it was great to see the shots finally falling for us in the second half," said coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener.
"At halftime, our plan was to get the ball inside more to Cody Paulk more and the team did that and then she responded with the points," Baldwin-Tener said. "Kendra Long managed the point guard positiion in the second half and that really helped us since our starting point guard (Ashley Watson) was out."
"It feels good to get another road win and get back a little confidence," she finished.
The Panthers settled down and finished the game with as many assists (15) as turnovers (15) after having 10 turnovers in the first half.
Georgia State returns home to face first-place Delaware on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. in the GSU Sports Arena.
GSU TEAM NOTEBOOK:
· On a second five-day CAA road trip of the season, GSU split for the second time, going 2-2 after playing four of its last six CAA games on the road. The Panthers will have four of its next five CAA games at home, starting with first-place Delaware on Thursday.
· In holding Mason to 52 points, it was a ninth opponent held to 52 or fewer and an 11th opponent held to 60 or less this season. Season average dropped to 58.5.
· Panther defense held Mason to 20% shooting in the second half and 32% for the game, making a ninth opponent held under 33% for a game this season. GSU’s season average of 34.7% ranks in the top 30 in the country. Holding Mason to 33% outside the 3-point arc was a 15th opponent held below that rate as the season average of .259 s top 25 in the NCAA.
· Panthers’ 42 second-half points were season second-half best (47 and 43 first-halves). It was the first time GSU has come from a halftime deficit to win this season. The Panthers are a strong-starting first-half team this season (550-461, +89 points).
· GSU hit 11-14 FT (78.6 Sunday) and have made 70-91 FT (76.9) over last five games.
· Panthers’ 7 treys (7-of-19 Sunday) tied season best 7 (of 15) vs. MVSU.
· GSU’s 55.6 second-half at Mason (15-of-27) is best second-half and just behind the 57.7 first-half vs. Jacksonville State (15-of-26).
· GSU dresses 10 players and nine of the 10 have scored in double figures this season (only Morgan Jackson with a best of nine points has not done so).
· Point guard has been a tough spot this year as JUCO transfer Kesheria McNeil (knee) was never healthy enough to play and sophomore starter Ashley Watson (50 assists this year) has missed the last two (leg strain). That has forced two-guard players Kendra Long and Gaby Moss to slide over and rotate at that spot this week.
GSU INDIVIDUAL NOTEBOOK
· Cody Paulk moved into 8th in CAA history in blocked shots (179) and is seven behind Hollee Franklin (JMU, 2002) for 7th. Her 46 this season lead the CAA and are top 20 in the NCAA.
· Paulk’s 18 points Sunday were her 26th career double-figure game and moved her over 600 points for her career. Her double-double game (18-12) was the 5th of her career. Her 7-of-12 FG upped her season shooting rate to 51.7%.
· Sophomore guard Kayla Nolan scored in double figures in both games this week to make it four in a row and 14 of the 18 games this year in double figures (season average 10.9).
· Junior Kendra Long added three 3-point baskets Sunday to up her team-best to 26 made. Her 137 are now second in school history as she chases the mark of 154. She is second on the team with her 10.3 average.