KENNESAW, Ga. -- For the first time this season the Kennesaw State women's basketball team made it back-to-back wins as the Owls topped the University of North Florida 50-40 in the KSU Convocation Center Thursday night.
It was a total team effort as six of the seven players to see action scored baskets as the black and gold move to 7-17 on the year and 3-9 in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings.
"I was really impressed with our fight tonight," Kennesaw State head coach Nitra Perry said. "We got down early and I thought that we battled and took advantage of what they were giving us. Nobody forced anything, we got the offensive boards and got the extra possessions and everybody played well."
After falling behind at the half, 22-18, KSU stayed the course in the first six minutes of the second period, going on a 5-0 run to take its first lead of the ballgame at 30-28 on a Sametria Gideon (Madison, Ala./Bob Jones HS) layup.
The two teams played a defensive eight minutes with three ties and a pair of lead changes until a Chantel Kennedy (Brooklyn, N.Y./Colorado St.) 10-footer followed by a big Kristina Wells (Douglasville, Ga./Douglas County HS) three-pointer put the Owls up for good at 41-36 with 2:39 to go.
North Florida (10-14, 6-7 A-Sun) connected on layup to make it a one-possession game, but freshman Chelsea Mason (Bellevue, Neb./Bellevue West HS) answered with a triple of her own moments later to put the game on ice.
The Owls then hit on six of their last eight free-throw attempts in the final 53-seconds to take the 10-point win.
"We're playing together," added Perry. "Everybody is selfless on the floor and everybody is doing everything they need to do for us to be successful. Sametria only got four points tonight but then she got 11 rebounds. We took away the things they do well and we just executed the scouting report. I'm proud of them and we have our momentum moving forward looking to the conference tournament."
KSU never held a lead in the opening period and trailed by as many as 10 points at the 8:28 mark before going on a 6-0 run with baskets from Kennedy, Mason and Wells. Nicole Adams (New Port Richey, Fla./Gulf HS) then chipped in with a triple to cut the lead down to just three points as the Ospreys took the 22-18 halftime lead.
Wells led the Owls with 14 points while Mason made it back-to-back double-digit scoring outings with her 13. As a team, KSU enjoyed a 43-percent success rate from the field, going 18-of-42 with six three-pointers, two each from Mason and Ashley Holliday (Greenville, S.C./J.L. Mann Academy).
On the glass, the Owls once again outrebounded their opponent, taking in 36 boards to UNF's 30. KSU brought in 30 rebounds on the defensive end, limiting the Ospreys to just four second-chance points.
Individually, Gideon led both teams with her 11 rebounds with Kennedy's eight right behind.
The Owls will now hit the road for a pair of games, starting on Saturday, Feb. 16 at USC Upstate for an ESPN3 featured game at 5:30 p.m. followed by a Feb. 18 contest at East Tennessee State.
Kennesaw State University