Seahawks Win OT Thriller Over Panthers
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Senior guard Tawanna Lee stole an inbounds pass and made a short jumper with five seconds remaining to lift UNCW over Georgia State, 84-83, in an overtime Colonial Athletic Association women's basketball game Sunday at Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks snapped a nine-game losing streak in dramatic fashion and improved to 3-20 overall and 2-10 in the CAA. The Panthers had their record evened at 12-12 on the season and stand 4-9 in their final campaign in the CAA.
Junior guard Jessica Freeman and senior forward Karneshia Garrett carried the Seahawks, combining for 49 of the team's season-high 84 points. Freeman poured in a career-high 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting, including 6-of-9 behind the arc, and added four rebounds and four assists.
Garrett, meanwhile, added 22 points, 20 rebounds and six blocks in a mammoth effort. The active inside player dominated play inside the paint in the second half to help the Seahawks extend the contest. Sophomore guard Kelva Atkins gave the Seahawks three players in double figures with 14 points.
Sophomore guard Ashley Watson anchored three GSU players in double digits with 16 points. Freshman guard Ashlee Cole scored 13 and senior guard Tiffany Anderson had 10 for the Panthers, who shot 37 percent on the day.
The two teams battled to a 73-all draw in regulation before the Panthers scored the first five points of the extra period. GSU still led, 81-77, with 49 seconds left when the Seahawks staged their scintillating comeback.
Garrett worked inside for a layup with 20 seconds left to close the deficit to 81-79 and after Watson made a pair of free throws to push the score back to 83-79 with 18 seconds on the clock, Freeman swished a key triple on the left wing with 10 ticks remaining.
Lee, who had made just one basket to that point, then swiped the inbounds pass and connected on a short jumper with five seconds left, drawing a timeout from GSU Head Coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener. The Panthers inbounded the ball to Cody Paulk who passed it to Kayla Nolan and the sophomore guard's 35-foot heave was ruled after the horn.
After taking a 38-34 lead at halftime, the Panthers increased their lead to 10 points midway through the second period before UNCW rallied down the stretch to force overtime.
Clinging to a 57-51 advantage, GSU pushed the margin to 10 points by converting four straight free throws with 9:41 remaining. Watson made a pair free throws when the UNCW bench was assessed a technical foul and Anderson added two more charity tosses to push the score to 61-51.
UNCW scored 13 of the next 16 points, however, to narrow the deficit to 66-64. Garrett did most of the damage, scoring 10 points in the spurt to help the Seahawk pull within two points at 4:19.
But GSU reeled off seven unanswered points and Watson's jumper at the free throw line helped the Panthers get the score back to 73-64 with 2:26 left to play.
The Seahawks took advantage of some sloppy play by the Panthers to force overtime by scoring the final nine points of regulation. Freeman scored on a layup to start the rally and then added a three-pointer to keep the rally going. Atkins and Lee then made two free throws each to tie the score.
UNCW had a chance to win it in regulation, but had a shot blocked and missed a desperation three-ball with three seconds left. GSU failed to get off a shot as time expired.
No more than five points separated the two teams in the opening half and the lead changed 12 times before the Panthers took a three-point lead into the half.
GSU opened the game by scoring the first five points before the Seahawks used Freeman's hot hand to get untracked. The junior guard from Charlotte scored 14 points, including 3-of-4 from long distance, in the opening period for UNCW.
Garrett converted a layup with 2:59 left to give the Seahawks a 34-33 edge, but the Panthers scored the last four points of the half for a 38-34 advantage at the break.
The Seahawks travel to Philadelphia on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. clash at Drexel, while the Panthers visit Northeastern on Thursday for a 7 p.m. tilt.
GAME NOTES: It was UNCW's first overtime game since a 68-64 win over VCU on Feb. 3, 2011, at Trask Coliseum...Freeman's 27 points was a season-high for a UNCW player this season...The Seahawks had two players score more than 20 points for the first time since Kristen Hanzer and Martha White turned the trick on Nov. 19, 2010 against rival East Carolina...The Seahawks shot 42.2 percent from the floor...UNCW outscored GSU, 11-10, in overtime...The Seahawks overcame 16 turnovers...The two teams combined for 33-of-40 at the free throw line, including 20-of-24 by the Seahawks...Only seven players saw action for UNCW...The Seahawks are now 2-9 at home...Garrett's 20-20 game was the first since Sharon McDowell had 20 points and 20 rebounds vs. East Carolina on Feb. 27, 1988.