So You Haven’t Watched a Second of GSU Women’s Basketball
Photo: Marvel Studios / Jordan Crawford
You gently wake up. It’s absolutely freezing in your room, but somehow it should be 70 degrees today, but probably 55 degrees in the shade. After all, it is March in downtown Atlanta, and everything is unpredictable.
Oh God, it’s March. The most important college basketball month of the year.
It’s March and you haven’t watched a single second of Georgia State women’s basketball.
You fling yourself out of bed to find your laptop. The women’s team couldn’t have done anything this year right? They went 8-21 last season and wouldn’t have played in the conference tournament last season even if it had happened. At best they’d play an early first day game and check out, right?
You frantically search the internet, looking for some scrap of knowledge to carry into the Sun Belt tournament. Oh they went 13-10? They play on day two?
Why didn’t I renew my ESPN+ subscription? Why don’t I follow @GSU_WBB on Twitter? Why don’t I remember anything about the ladies’ 2020-21 season?
Luckily for you, Pounce is a benevolent god, and you have been blessed with a study guide to Georgia State women’s basketball. There are just a few hours until the Sun Belt tournament’s tipoff, so you better read up.
Here are some things to know about GSU’s women’s basketball team this March:
The ladies love the three ball
The Panthers attempted over 20 three point attempts per game and shot 30.9%. Last season they attempted only 17.5 threes per game and shot a dismal 24.2%. Sophomore sharpshooter Moriah Taylor leads the squad with 86 attempts and 29 makes, including some long-range missiles against South Alabama and Appalachian State. Kamryn “Corner Three” Dziak has Duncan Robinson-esque shot selection (81% of her attempts are from deep) and hits threes at a 32.5% clip. Joelle Johnson and Deasia Merrill have sneaky accuracy from deep off the bench. Five players are shooting 30% or higher on at least 25 attempts. It’s raining downtown.
The Panthers are second in the Sun Belt in defensive three point percentage and blocks, third in defensive field goal percentage and steals, and fourth in turnovers forced per game. They interfere with ball-handlers in transition, close out on shots from the perimeter, and bully opponents attempting to penetrate the paint. Of course their aggressive play can get them in foul trouble on occasion. They’re fourth in the conference in fouls per game and allow 14 free throw attempts per game, the highest mark in the Gene Hill era.
Run in transition
To put it as delicately as I can, the Panthers get bodied on the glass. Junior double-double machine Taylor Hosendove is good for fifth in the Sun Belt in rebounds per game at 8.7, but she’s the only player with more than 4 on the team. When they faced elite rebounding teams like Troy and Georgia Southern (1st and 7th in the nation in rebound margin), they were slaughtered on the boards, getting outrebounded by 43 against the Trojans over three games and 35 against that team down south over two games.
Rebounding doesn’t make or break a basketball team, but it has the potential to break open close games and turn snoozefest blowouts into nail biters. The Panthers get the ball back on 26.4% of offensive rebound opportunities. Their opponents? A whopping 36.5% of those opportunities.
Bailey, this is not good. Why are you harping on this?
Because, dear non-watcher, it makes my final point that much more important.
The Panthers are never out of a game
The ladies aren’t known for their hot starts. They’ve been outscored by 49 in the first quarter over the course of the season. And that has barely mattered. Let me take you on a journey to their final non-conference game against Chattanooga. Our beloved ladies in blue were down 15 at the end of the first, down 11 entering the fourth, and down 8 with two minutes left. The result? A buzzer beating three by Taylor Henderson to send the game to overtime. Yeah, it was an overtime loss, but it was a great time.
How about another one? Their next home game against Appalachian State, a whopping one month later. The Mountaineers led 19-2 only five minutes into the contest. It seemed to be getting out of hand in a hurry. A strong third quarter and a 19-point performance by Hannah Sadler led the Panthers back. With 50 seconds left, the game was tied, and it wasn’t over until a Henderson three point shot missed the mark at the buzzer.
So what have you missed? An exhilarating offense capable of torrential scoring, swarming defensive efforts, and a whole lotta heart. And it’s a shame you haven’t seen it yet.
Catch the Panthers this Saturday afternoon against either Coastal Carolina or Little Rock. The former failed to win a Sun Belt contest this season, and the latter had the same record as Georgia State, but plays with more rebounding and less perimeter presence. So if the Panthers start slow on Saturday… you might regret turning it off.
Bailey is a sport administration student at Georgia State set to graduate in December 2021. When not in class or actively cheering on the Panthers at every home game from the band, Bailey is on baseball Twitter, poorly playing Apex Legends, or researching the Panthers next opponent. He is a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan, dislikes pickles, and digs Dunkin Donuts coffee.