Panthers get ready for short road trip

Janessa Murphy, point guard for Georgia State Panthers, strives to pass ball to fellow player on Jan 20. Photo by Julian Pineda | The Signal

After three straight games at home, the Panthers will head on the road to the state of Arkansas to square off against Arkansas State and Little Rock. After an 83-63 loss to Texas State, the Panthers are now (5-15,1-8) on the season.

Despite the recent losses, the Panthers have been playing better as of late, which is a sign of improvement and encouragement.  When a team is at the point where the Panthers are, it is often easy to just give up on the season when it seems like there is nothing left to play for; but there is. The most significant thing is pride, and the desire to go out every game and compete to your fullest. Also, just improving as a team and as individual players is as important.

“I think the biggest thing is that we’ve got to continue rebounding the basketball like we’re doing,” Coach Sharon Baldwin said. “I think we’re doing a pretty good job rebounding, but we’ve got to take care of the ball better, and we’ve got to be able to go on the road and be able to play four quarters.”

The team will have two challenging games ahead of them.

In matchup number one, on the short road trip, the Panthers will face Arkansas State who they lost to a few weeks back, 75-58. In that game, the Panther’s undoing was a late second-quarter run that enabled the Red Wolves to take a 12-point lead into the break. When you look at the score by quarters, the Panthers were close, so they didn’t play a terrible game overall.

The toughest of the two matchups will come against Little Rock, who is coming into this game white hot on a nine-game winning streak.

Little Rock is an excellent defensive team as they hold their opponents to 53.7 points per game. They only allow their opponents to shoot 39 percent from the field and 32 percent from behind the arc.

The Panthers are allowing teams to shoot 45 percent from the field, and 33 percent from behind the arc.

Those statistics are similar, but the difference comes in the points per game. The Panthers are giving up a whopping 74 points per game on the season, and they only average 63 points per game.

Little Rock is led by forward Rojanne DeGray, who is averaging 13.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. DeGray was held to 10 points when the two teams met earlier this season, but the Panthers have had inconsistent play from its forwards all season, so that will be one matchup to look out for during the game.

For the Panthers, going on the road trip means they will need to limit turnovers, as they tend to beat themselves. This season they average 16.2 turnovers per game. While they have played some good defensive teams, they have had a lot of self-inflicted wounds.

Look for Kierra Henry and Janessa Murphy to be the top offensive weapons for the team. Someone at the forward position will need to be more consistent down the stretch.

The first game against Arkansas State will take place in Jonesboro, AR, and then the team will travel to Little Rock, AR to square off against the Trojans.