JONESBORO, AR – Georgia State women’s basketball team rallied from a 9-point deficit to stun the Arkansas State Red Wolves 64-62 at First National Bank Arena in Jonesboro.
The win gives Georgia State a 16-11 regular season record and a 10-6 conference mark, clinching a winning season in both. It will be Georgia State’s first winning campaign since returning to the Sun Belt conference five seasons ago.
But it didn’t come easy. Payton Tennison of the Red Wolves got hot from outside early. She hit four three-pointers in the first half as Arkansas State built an eleven-point lead. But Georgia State used a late run to claw back within two at the half, 30-28.
Georgia State was hurt by poor three-point shooting. The Panthers went 1-12 in the first half. With the outside closed, they had to go inside, tallying 16 points in the paint.
In the third quarter, Arkansas State kept up the pressure. Tennison continued her outside barrage, and Peyton Martin got some easy looks inside, but Georgia State hung around. Jada Lewis and Madison Ervin each hit long-range jumpers, as the outside shot started to stir. A tense moment occurred at the end of the quarter. Allison Johnson drew a flagrant foul from Lycia Peevy, landing awkwardly on her ankle. She left the game and never returned.
In the fourth, another three from Ervin drew Georgia State to within two. Arkansas State had one more run left in them. Akasha Westbrook got an offensive rebound and made the put back. Martin and Morgan Wallace each hit one of two free throws to make it 60-51 with 4:40 remaining.
Westbrook’s field goal dropped with 5:42 left in regulation, and it proved to be the final jumper that Arkansas State made.
Janessa Murphy started the rally by going one-of-two from the line and followed it up with an outside jumper. After Martin went one-for-two from the line, Georgia State scored eight unanswered points to take the lead. Walnatia Wright had a layup, then Murphy and Lewis buried back-to-back three pointers to give Georgia State at 62-61 lead with fifty seconds left.
Another Martin free throw tied the game, but Georgia State had possession. Lewis lost the ball while driving. As Arkansas State freshman guard Jerih Washington started a fast break, Wright tipped the ball away. She held on after the ensuing scrum and got it to Lewis. The redshirt sophomore from McEachern was the only player who stayed home. Her uncontested layup sealed the win.
“I told them to stay connected,” said Georgia State head coach Gene Hill about his message in the final minutes. “We’ve been in this situation before. We’ve had several comebacks. I told them to stay focused on what we needed to do.”
Murphy led Georgia State in scoring with 17, including eight in the fourth quarter. “As leaders on the team we (Lewis and I) knew we had to bring it together,” she said. “We had to try to get the momentum going and get the team to follow behind, and they did. It was a great win tonight.”
Tennison paced Arkansas State in scoring with 20 points, including six three-pointers. It was her season high. Martin had 17 and Wallace added 12. For the Panthers, Lewis pitched in 14, including the 750th point in her career. Wright had a double-double, with 11 rebounds to go along with her ten points.
With two regular season games remaining, Georgia State tightened their grip on the four seed in the conference tournament. The Panthers are a game-and-a-half clear of fifth-place South Alabama. However, the Jaguars have an extra game to play and hold the tiebreaker over Georgia State. The victory ended an eight-game winning streak for the Red Wolves in the rivalry.
Georgia State continues their Arkansas swing with a game at Little Rock. The Trojans are tied for the top berth in the Sun Belt. It will be their final road game of the regular season.

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