JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -- Even with a 23-point outing from freshman Nicole Adams, the Kennesaw State women's basketball team couldn't overcome costly turnovers as the Owls fell in Atlantic Sun Conference action, 69-65, at East Tennessee State on Monday night.
Adams (New Port Richey, Fla./Gulf HS) shattered her previous career high of 15 points with an 8-of-10 night shooting from the field and a 6-for-7 performance from beyond the three-point line, the third most three-pointers in a single game in the school record books.
"Nicole came out and was ready to shoot," Kennesaw State head coach Nitra Perry said. "We've been working a lot on preparing her for her shot better and tonight was the best she's done with that all season."
The Owls remain in the hunt for the A-Sun conference tournament after falling to 7-19 on the season and 3-11 in the league standings while the Buccaneers improve to 7-15 overall and 5-10 in the conference.
KSU enjoyed a stellar first half of basketball, jumping out to a 16-point lead just nine minutes into the contest at 27-11 after an Adams three-point shot topped off a 13-2 Kennesaw State offensive run.
But a 9-0 streak from the home team brought the Buccaneers back within seven at 27-20 with 6:12 remaining in the opening half. The two teams then played back-and-forth for the final five minutes with KSU coming out of the first 20 minutes on top, 36-33.
Adams was perfect in the first half, going 5-for-5 from the field with four of those made baskets coming from beyond the arc to lead the black and gold. As a team, the Owls shot 55 percent from the field in the first period.
Out of the intermission it was the seniors Sametria Gideon (Madison, Ala./Bob Jones HS) and Ashley Holliday (Greenville, S.C./J.L. Mann Academy) putting the Owls back up by seven after back-to-back made baskets one minute in. But ETSU battled back, grabbing a lead at 44-43 before the Owls tied it back up momentarily at 52-52 on a Gideon free throw.
A jumper from the Buccaneers at the 7:03 mark then gave ETSU the lead for good as they took the 69-65 win.
"I thought we looked good in spurts," added Perry. "At times we executed the game plan, but we didn't block out like we should have all game and they had 14 offensive boards and that really did it. We're definitely a better team than what we showed here tonight."
The 14 offensive rebounds from ETSU led directly to 18 second chance points for the Buccaneers.
Gideon earned her 12th double-double of the season during the contest with 10 points and 13 rebounds, 12 of which came in the second half alone. Holliday was the third Owl in double-figures scoring with her 16 points and six assists.
For the game, the Owls shot 45 percent from the field, 21-of-47, with seven three-pointers on 13 attempts.
"We can't get relaxed now," said Perry of the team's final four games "We need to continue to play hard and when the games get going up and down, we need to keep focused."
The Owls will return home for their final two games of the season at the KSU Convocation Center, starting with Lipscomb on Saturday, Feb. 23 at noon.
Kennesaw State University