Women’s basketball headed to Sun Belt tournament

Both Georgia State basketball teams have clinched berths in next week’s Sun Belt tournament in New Orleans as the women’s team defeated the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (UL-Monroe) on the by a final score of 66-61

The victory ups the Panthers’ record to 13-15 and 8-11 in Sun Belt play.

Georgia State’s top performers of the game were Makeba Ponder, who finished the game with 15 points on five of seven from behind the arc. All of Ponder’s threes came in the second half. Alisha Andrews also contributed 13 assists in a winning Panther effort.

First Half

UL-Monroe jumped out to an early 4-0 lead as senior center Sharnice Brooks and senior forward Christina Gray both scored early two-pointers. Georgia State jumped on the board as Alisha Andrews got a steal that she converted into a fastbreak layup, making the game 4-2.

The Warhawks maintained their two-point lead with scores of 6-4, 8-6, 10-8 and 13-11 before Andrews made her second three of the game, giving the Panthers their first lead of the game at 14-13.

UL-Monroe responded with a 7-0 run for a 20-14 lead as freshman guard Daja Chase made a two-pointer, freshman Warhawks guard Olivia Countiss made a three and freshman guard Chelsea Tieuel made two free throws after Brittany Logan fouled her.

Kennesha Nichols’ first two points of the game and Morgan Jackson’s first three drew Georgia State within one at 20-19. Countiss and junior guard Aundrea Davis both made threes that extended the Warhawks’ advantage back to seven at 26-19.

The Panthers responded with a 7-0 run tying the game as Nichols scored five and Ashlee Cole scored her first two points, evening the score at 26.

With the score tied at 28, Cole made one of two free throws after Christina Gray fouled her, allowing Georgia State to take a 29-28 lead into halftime.

Second Half

Brooks and Chase began the second half with two-pointers as Louisiana-Monroe reassumed the lead at 32-29. The Panthers tied it up as Ponder made a three, evening the score again at 32.

Ashley Watson contributed a jump shot, and making it a 34-32 game in favor of Georgia State.

With the Panthers leading 36-34, another Ponder three extended the team’s lead to 39-34. The Warhawks would then embark on a 7-2 run as Brooks added four points and Davis added a three with the only Georgia State points coming off a Haley Gerrin layup as the two teams were all even at 41.

The Panthers and Warhawks were all even at 43 prior to another Ponder three-pointer, reclaiming the lead for Georgia State at 46-43.

The Panthers maintained their three-point lead at 48-45. Brooks as well as junior ULM center Alayshia Hunter both made two-point shots off their own rebounds, swinging the game back in the Warhawks’ favor at 49-48.

Brooks fouled Logan after she made a layup, then Logan made her following free throw, making it a 51-49 game in Georgia State’s favor. Brooks and Hunter each made two-point jumpers, reclaiming a 53-51 lead for UL-Monroe before another Ponder three gave the Panthers a 54-53 lead.

Gray later made a pair of free throws after a Gerrin foul, making it a 55-54 Warhawks game. Georgia State regained the lead again with Ponder’s fifth three of the game as the scoreboard read 57-55.

The Panthers maintained their two-point lead at 59-57 prior to another two-pointer by Gray. Georgia State reclaimed the lead again as Gaby Moss’ first three upped her point total to five and the lead to 62-59.

With the score at 64-61, the Panthers extended their lead to 66-61 as Gerrin put in another layup. A few seconds later, Georgia State women’s basketball officially clinched a Sun Belt tournament berth.

The Panthers’ final game of the regular season will be Saturday afternoon at the Sports Arena vs. Georgia Southern at noon.

Final Stats
Georgia State UL-Monroe
Ponder: 15 points, 5-7 shooting Andrews: 13 assists
Brooks: 14 points Hunter: 12 points, eight rebounds