KENNESAW, Ga. -- Even with a 12 point lead midway through the second half, the Kennesaw State women's basketball team couldn't stave off the Hatters of Stetson as the Owls fell at home in an Atlantic Sun Conference matchup, 57-52.
Sametria Gideon (Madison, Ala./Bob Jones HS) earned her seventh double-double of the year during the contest with 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead KSU.
Coming out of the half with a 30-25 lead, the Owls, who fall to 4-10 overall and 0-2 in the A-Sun, quickly extended it to six with a three-pointer from Ashley Holliday (Greenville, S.C./J.L. Mann Academy) to move the score to 35-29. Holliday and teammate Bria Young (Suwanee, Ga./Collins Hill HS) then each drilled a pair of shots from beyond the arc just one minute later to pull the home team ahead by 11.
Coming off the bench it was Danielle Jackson (Tucker, Ga./Atlanta Metropolitan College) who gave the Owls their largest lead of the game with 10:49 to go, putting in a triple for her first points in a Kennesaw State jersey to make it 48-36 KSU.
But a 21-4 run by Stetson over the final 10 minutes gave the Hatters all they needed for the win, taking the game, 57-52, and bumping their overall record to 9-4 and 2-0 in the conference.
"Every game has to be an experience and a lesson learned," said Kennesaw State head coach Nitra Perry. "We did a better job of battling in the first five minutes then we did in our last game, then they changed defenses like good teams do. They adjusted because they couldn't guard us in the man-to-man defense and I think we started playing not to lose rather than to win."
The first half was a back-and-forth affair with neither team taking more than a five point lead. The black and gold overcame a four-point gap early on with Holliday's first three of the game followed by a pair of made free throws from Kristina Wells (Douglasville, Ga./Douglas County HS) to give KSU a 7-6 lead.
The Owls then ended the half on a 9-2 run sparked by a 10-footer from Gideon at the 3:34 mark to knot the game at 23. Gideon and Wells then connected on back-to-back layups followed by a Young triple to send the game into the half, 30-25 KSU.
Young ended the game with three three-pointers as did Holliday as the Owls put in eight as a team.
"Some of the positives are we outrebounded them," added Perry. "We had more turnovers than I would have liked, but we also had 10 assists and I think we played good team basketball. We need to learn how to dig down and make a stop when we need one and always look like a champion."
The Owls earned 44 rebounds to Stetson's 41 with Gideon pulling in a team-high 11.
"It's always a positive," said Gideon of her double-double performance. "It would have been better to pull out a win though. We're getting better and better, we just need to put together all the things we're learning throughout the season and we'll be alright."
Wells put together a nice ballgame as well, putting in eight points with eight rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.
The Owls will be back at it on Saturday, Jan. 5, for a rivalry showdown with Mercer at 5:30 p.m. in the KSU Convocation Center for an ESPN3 featured game.
Kennesaw State University