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Georgia State women’s basketball falls again, this time at the hands of FIU

In his first season as head coach, Gene Hill led Georgia State to a 17-13 record, its best since the 2003-2004 season. Photo submitted by Georgia State Athletics

Georgia State’s women’s basketball team lost a tough match against Florida International University Monday afternoon, 70-63. The defense was an issue again for the Panthers, allowing FIU to get 30 points off of 3-pointers. FIU had full control in the first half, but the Panthers made a run in the third, coming as close as two. 

“We picked up our defensive intensity. [FIU] shot 60% in the first half. We wanted to see if they will continue to make shots,” head coach Gene Hill said. “We did have some defensive breakdowns in the first half. In the third quarter, we were able to make some adjustments, which helped us a lot.”

Freshman Taylor Henderson is becoming vital to the team, as she continues to stand out. She finished with 31 points, most for a Panther since Kelcey Roegiers scored 33 points in a game in 2007.

“She can score. Right now, she is playing hard for us,” Hill said. “We got to get her to be consistent on both ends. She is a very talented young lady.”

The Panthers continue to struggle in getting other players involved besides Henderson. She was the only player who finished in double figures. 

“Now we got to get other people involved,” Hill said. “We still are not comfortable offensively, in the flow of things. That has been the problem with our scoring.” 

Senior Shaquanda Miller-McCray’s shine may not come from the offensive end, but she is helping the Panthers on the boards. She had a career-high 20 rebounds Monday. Pam Miller totaled 20 rebounds in 1991, also against FIU.

In the fourth quarter, the Lady Panthers were down seven with 14.4 seconds left. Out of the timeout, Henderson drove to the basket and drew the foul. 

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“It was a play to see what [FIU] will take advantage of. We needed a quick point, two or three. We put our shooters in the corners. We did a screen [at the top of the key],” Hill said. “We asked Taylor or whoever was there to attack and take what they give you. [FIU] stayed attached to our shooters. Taylor drove and got fouled.”

Hill previous said he wants to see more on the defensive end. He wants his freshmen to lace it and play. Yesterday, he saw an improvement.

“[The freshmen] did a much better job. The energy was better, but it is a continuing process,” Hill said. “We took two quick three’s towards the end of the game. That probably was not the greatest shot. That’s learning those next things. We are a long way [away from] being savvy veterans.”

The Panthers take on a familiar foe, Georgia Tech, in their next game on Nov. 20. Tech is currently undefeated, having put together a 3-0 start. The Panthers will have to be ready to play in order to get their first win of the season.