GAME PREVIEW

  • Georgia State tips off the season Nov. 11 against the Florida Gators in Gainesville.
  • The Panthers lead the all-time series with Florida 5-3, but UF won the last meeting in 2012-13. Prior to that game, GSU had won four straight in the series.
  • Sophomores Jada Lewis and Madison Newby were named preseason All-Sun Belt.
  • Jada Lewis was the 2016-17 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year and Madison Newby was
    the 2015-16 SBC Freshman of the Year.
  • Madison Newby took a medical redshirt last season after sustaining an injury after
    the third game of the season.
  • Georgia State returns its leading scorer from a year ago in Jada Lewis, but loses its
    leading rebounder as Tiffany Holston graduated after the season.
  • Georgia State returns three starters in Jada Lewis, Kierra Henry and K.K. Williams.
  • There are no seniors on this year’s team and there are nine players that did not
    return from last season.
  • GSU welcomes four transfers that can play right away in Shay Fluker, Juliet James,
    Victoria Middlebrooks and Janessa Murphy.
  • The Panthers have a challenging start to the season, facing Florida, No. 7 Mississippi
    State and Georgia Tech on the road for the first three games.
  • Head coach Sharon Baldwin has two new members on the staff in Tron Griffin and
    Jasmine Young. Young played for Baldwin at East Carolina (2005-09).
  • The Panthers won’t play a home game until they host the GSU Thanksgiving Classic
    Nov. 24-26.

SEASON PREVIEW

by Asia Brown

Georgia State women’s basketball's 2017-2018 season kicks off with three games on the road against two SEC teams and an ACC team. Their season will start with tough non-conference matchups to prepare them for conference play in order to achieve their goal of clinching a top-four spot in the Sun Belt. Although last season ended earlier than planned when they lost to South Alabama in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, the Panthers worked hard during the offseason and have high expectations that they will return to New Orleans and leave with a different outcome.

Returning to the team are Jada Lewis, Madison Newby, Kierra Henry, Shaq Miller-McCray and K.K. Williams. Lewis, Newby, Henry and Williams all have lots of playing time under their belts which head coach Sharon Baldwin believes will be the strength of the team. As the veterans, Baldwin expects them to be vocal leaders throughout the rest of their time at GSU.

Lewis, who was recently named second team preseason All-Sun Belt, also received 2016-17 Sun Belt Freshmen of the Year. Last season, Lewis averaged 11.6 points and 1.9 assists per game in just her first year and earned her season-high of 21 points in three different games. Newby, who also recently received All-Sun Belt preseason honors, proved that she was a leader her freshmen year when she ranked No. 48 in the NCAA and scored 248 points in one season. Before becoming injured in the third game of last season, she averaged 9.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3 assists per game.

Henry, who is now a junior, averaged 6.5 points and 3.1 rebounds a game last season and recorded four steals in two games, finishing with 27 for the year. 

“I feel more comfortable now than I used to. Now I just have to lead by example which means that I’m working hard and showing my new teammates that to see results, it takes a lot of practice,” Henry said. “This season I’m working on my mid-range and 3-point shot. I’m practicing them every day.”

Also welcoming the new group of girls is Francesca Minali, who sat out last season with a redshirt. The newcomers include two freshmen, Rakeah Williams and Deja Mitchell, sophomore Kiersten Hunter, juniors Shay Fluker, Juliet James, Allison Johnson, Victoria Middlebrooks, and Janessa Murphy, and senior Walnatia Wright. Hunter, Johnson and Wright will sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Not only has the team welcomed new players, they also welcomed new assistant coaches. Tron Griffin, who coached at Truett-McConnell and Jasmine Young, who played for Baldwin at East Carolina, are joining Baldwin and returning assistant coach Kelly Mathis.

“Both Tron and Jasmine have done a good job so far. They have brought in really good ideas and energy and are both winners on and off the court,” Baldwin said. “Our goals as a coaching staff are to get the girls to push the ball, be better defensively, create more havoc and be able to go down and score some in transition as well.”

Although the team lost Tiffany Holston, Haley Gerrin, Kennesha Nichols and Tatianna Jackson, they have gained several positive additions to the team.

The team will begin its season Saturday, Nov. 11 in Gainesville, Fla. as they face Florida. Then the Panthers will play Mississippi State (Nov. 16) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 21) before heading home to play in the Thanksgiving Classic against VCU (Nov. 24) and Western Kentucky (Nov. 26).

Georgia State’s first conference game will be against South Alabama in Mobile, Ala. on Dec. 29. The team will also see some of last season’s top-five Sun Belt teams early on, playing Troy (Dec. 31), Little Rock (Jan. 4), UT Arlington (Jan. 25) and Texas State (Jan. 27). Georgia State will matchup against rival Georgia Southern for the first time of the season on Jan. 20 in Georgia State’s Sports Arena and then again on Feb. 17 in Hanner Fieldhouse in Statesboro.