ATLANTA, GA. – The Georgia State women’s basketball team downed the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks 68-52 to notch their first victory of the Sun Belt season.
The game’s turning point was the second quarter. A few minutes in, Louisiana-Monroe held an 18-14. Then the Panthers went on a 13-0 run keyed by successive threes by freshman Kamyrn Dziak and sophomore Taylor Hosendove. It was part of a 20-8 frame, leading to a 32-21 halftime advantage for the Panthers.
The Warhawks made incursions through the third quarter, but Georgia State held them off each time to seal the win. The Panthers are now 1-1 after the first weekend of Sun Belt, having lost to Louisiana by a 75-65 tally on Thursday. Louisiana-Monroe went winless in their trip through Georgia. Georgia Southern downed them 64-47 in Statesboro.
Jada Lewis led all scorers with 18, while center Diamond Brooks paces Louisiana-Monroe with 15, a career high. Not only did the Panthers make it five straight wins in the rivalry, but the Warhawks continued their struggles at the Sports Arena. They have yet to notch a win in seven appearances.
Lewis’ total marked the fourth straight contest where she hit double figures. Not coincidentally, the Panthers are 3-1 in that span. She eclipsed the 900-point barrier in the loss to the Ragin’ Cajuns and seems a lock to get to 1,000 in her Panther career sometime this month, possibly when the Panthers host South Alabama and Troy in a few weeks.
“We wanted to emphasize this game of sharing the ball and playing as a team,” the junior from McEachern High School in Powder Springs said afterward. “My teammates did a great job of finding me and I knocked down the shots. We just played well as a team. Everyone had great shots, not only me. Taylor Henderson, Hosendove, really everyone who played tonight made an impact.”
It was 13-12 after the first quarter, and six Panthers had one basket apiece. “That’s what Coach (Gene) Hill was talking about,” she said. “We had to buy into it. Hopefully we can keep going and helps up be successful.”
“We have to play together,” said Hill about the second quarter run. “Everyone was playing together as a unit. We focused on subbing early and keeping our kids fresh. When you press early and do a lot of different things, you can wear out. We got into a flow with our rotation, so we had that burst.”
Senior Shaquanda Miller-McCray recorded six blocks to pass Angela Gresham into fourth-place all-time on the Georgia State list. She sits nine behind Chan Harris, who recorded 137 in a career ending in 2012.
“Shaq has found a way to impact the game without scoring,” said Hill. “That’s very helpful to have someone who is willing to play without the ball, and she has bought into that. We must work on her helping a little too much. We don’t people taking advantage of her going for the blocks. We are excited about her impact.”
The Panthers are now 4-9 on the year, as Coach Hill seeks to integrate a roster that features nine newcomers.
“We knew it would be a challenge. We talked about staying focused, and we that’s something we constantly talk about. There’s been some good days and bad days. That’s always a part of it. We’re excited about all of them. Hopefully we can continue to grow in this process.”
Georgia State travels to Jonesboro next week for a game with the Arkansas State Red Wolves on Thursday before heading to Little Rock to play the Trojans.