The Kennesaw State women’s basketball team trailed by eight points and had the ball with just under 2 minutes left in Thursday’s season opener at Georgia.
Unfortunately, they could get no closer.
The Lady Bulldogs, who watched a 19-point lead get trimmed to single digits, found enough to pull away for good and an 80-65 win over the Owls in the teams’ season openers Thursday night in Athens.
Trailing 46-31 at the half, Kennesaw State (0-1) came out strong in the second half with an 8-3 run highlighted by a Gillian Piccolino 3-pointer that forced Georgia (1-0) to call a timeout. The Owls cut it to single digits with 5:40 to go in the third quarter after Alexis Poole put back an offensive rebound to trim the lead to 49-41.
The teams battled back-and-forth, with the lead remaining at 10 points or less for Georgia until knocked down a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 55-43.
Georgia knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer to claim a 61-45 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Kamiyah Street with fewer than 5 minutes to go cut the lead to 70-60, and Carlotta Gianolla’s jumper cut the lead to 70-62 before the Owls forced a turnover to get the ball back. However, a turnover of their own allowed Georgia to get the lead back to double digits for good.
Poole led Kennesaw State with 18 points, Street had 15, Gianolla finished with 14 points and six rebounds and Piccolino added seven points and eight rebounds.
Kennesaw State will host Samford on Saturday in its home opener.
Drake 86, Kennesaw State 55: D.J. Wilkins had 19 points to lead five Drake players in double figures as the Bulldogs downed Kennesaw State on Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa.
Jonah Jackson added 15 points for Drake. Garrett Sturtz chipped in 14, Anthony Murphy scored 11 and Roman Penn had 10. Sturtz also had six rebounds for the Bulldogs, while Murphy posted seven rebounds.
Tyler Hooker had 12 points for the Owls (0-2). Armani Harris added 10 points and seven rebounds. Terrell Burden had 10 points.
“You come on the road and you play a team like Creighton on one night and then you play the defending Missouri Valley champion (Drake) two nights later, that’s a tall task for anybody,” Owls coach Amir Abdur-Rahim said in a release. “I feel good about my kids. I’ve got to do a better job of putting them in a position where they can be successful and to where they are fresh as well.”
Kennesaw State will travel to Mercer on Monday.