Orlando, FL (Nov. 9) - Georgia State opened the 2012-13 season with a 64-50 win over UCF with four players scoring in double figures.
The visiting Panthers' defense was the difference as GSU forced 28 turnovers, made 15 steals, blocked five shots and held host UCF to 29 percent shooting for the game.
Junior guard Kendra Long scored 15 points, making three-of-five 3-point baskets to top the scoring and four steals to pace the defense. Sophomore guard Kayla Nolan had a double-double with 12 rebounds and 11 points. Senior center Cody Paulk was a factor with 10 points, six rebounds and five blocked shots. Point guard Ashley Watson added 12 points.
UCF of Conference USA got 18 points from guard Briahanna Jackson.
"We came out of the gate playing well tonight," head coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener said. "We got 34 points off the turnovers and our defensive pressure was the difference, especially in the first half. We held them to a low shooting percentage and got some important steals to lead to baskets in transition."
Georgia State opened a 4-0 lead to start the game, allowed one UCF trey and then scored 13 straight points to make it 17-3 at 15:30 as Long drained a three to create that margin. The hot Panthers built the margin to 31-13 with 7:12 to go in the half. GSU held a 39-24 lead at halftime, holding UCF to 25 percent shooting.
In the second half, GSU built the lead to 20 points quickly at 48-28 and had the largest lead of the night of 24 points at 52-28 with 16:24 to go.
GSU shot 43 percent for the game, after starting out making 10 of its first 19 shots. GSU finished with a 43-41 rebounding advantage and got 10 points off second-chance offensive rebounds. GSU got 50 minutes of support from the five bench players in this evening's opener.
The Panthers will stay in Florida and travel up to Gainesville to face the Florida Gators on Sunday afternoon.