ATLANTA -- Even with two solid performances from Sametria Gideon and Kristina Wells, the Kennesaw State women's basketball team fell short at Georgia State on Sunday afternoon, taking a 63-42 loss in the rivalry matchup on the road.
After being outscored in the first half 33-15, the Owls went on a 6-0 run midway through the second half to cut the Georgia State lead down to just 14 points, 47-33. Wells (Douglasville, Ga./Douglas County HS) scored all six points for KSU during the run before the Panthers ultimately won it, 63-42.
"We did some things well," said Kennesaw State head coach Nitra Perry. "We need to work on our mental toughness and on putting a whole 40 minutes together. We were close in rebounds and they only took four more shots than we did. It just comes down to finishing on some of those layups and free throws."
In the first half, Gideon (Madison, Ala./Bob Jones HS) gave the Owls their first two points of the game on a layup and helped the black and gold dwindle down a nine point lead for the Panthers to just five with another basket just one minute later followed by an Elaina Gray (Anderson, S.C./T.L. Hannah HS) jumper to make it 11-6.
After a Panther run that put the home team back up by 12, Chelsea Mason (Bellevue, Neb./Bellevue West HS) was goon on back-to-back field goals, her first points of the game, to put the Owls back within eight, 20-12, with 4:23 left in the first half. GSU then went into the halftime break with a 33-15 lead.
Georgia State extended its lead coming out of the locker room before Wells single handedly brought the Owls back within reach at the 8:21 mark.
"I think that just shows you our fight," said Perry of the comeback. "I think we showed that we have the ability to compete with anybody as long as our minds are right."
Kennesaw State, now 2-6, picked up 35 rebounds, nine of those from Gideon and six from junior Chantel Kennedy (Brooklyn, N.Y./Colorado State).
Gideon also led the KSU offense with her 12 point outing while Wells was right behind with 11, putting in a game high five free throws, while Mason finished with nine. Wells was tops for the Owls with four assists and a steal while Gideon earned one of three blocks for the black and gold on the afternoon.
As a team, the Owls committed just eight personal fouls, allowing the Panthers just five free-throw attempts, of which they made just one.
Kennesaw State will now break for 11 days, playing again on Dec. 13, in Asheville, N.C. at 7 p.m. against UNC-Asheville.
"We're going to focus on finishing with finals first," added Perry. "Then we'll work on some things we need to tweak. We'll look at shaping up our defense and getting a little bit better rebounding and get some shots up and just overall preparing for the rest of the season. We won't get another 11 days until the end of the year."
Kennesaw State University