Lady Panthers 64, South Alabama Jaguars 81: How it Happened

Janessa Murphy guarding against North Carolina Green Field in Georgia State's women's basketball first game of the season. Photo by Unique Rodriguez | The Signal

Will things get better for the Panthers women’s basketball team? Their 81-64 loss at the Sports Arena is making it difficult to answer that question. 

South Alabama traveled to Atlanta Thursday night for a Sun Belt Conference matchup. To the dismay of Georgia State, the Jaguars earned themselves a pleasant ride to Statesboro. Dominating the game from the opening tip, and fueled by excellent all-around play, the Jaguars handed Georgia State their twelfth loss on the season.

South Alabama jumped out to an early lead, starting the game off with a 7-0 run, and it was only downhill from there for the Panthers. 

Georgia State never led at any point in the game, trailing by as many as 24 points in the fourth quarter.

However, the Panthers still are not at full-strength physically. They came into the game on an ambulance with Jada Lewis, Allison Johnson, and Ashley Foster, all sitting out due to injuries. 

“It affected [the game] not only from what they bring talent-wise and their skill level but just the rotation overall you have to adjust it,” Panthers head coach Gene Hill said after the game. 

Hill’s team’s depth and leadership, especially Lewis, were both missed on both ends of the floor.

On the offensive end, the team struggled, shooting an unfavorable 34.3% from the field.

What’s more, the Jaguars shot 55% from the field on the night, led by Savannah Jones’ 17 on 7-of-11 shooting. They would add 11 three-pointers on twenty attempts with four different players hitting multiple shots from behind the arc.

“We had some mental breakdowns on our rotations in our presses, which led to open looks,” said Coach Hill.

All Georgia State can do is look ahead. With crucial conference games against Troy, Georgia Southern and Appalachian State approaching, they will need to maintain focus

Coach Hill spoke about the need to stay focused as the season wanes, especially with such a young team.

“Keep pounding, we got to continue to keep pounding, improving each day and keep chopping the wood,” said Coach Hill.

Hopefully, the Panthers will find a way to end the season on a high note. After all, anyone can make a run in the Sun Belt conference tournament coming up in March.