Owls tab first win under Head Coach Nitra Perry | News
KENNESAW, Ga. -- Kennesaw State women's basketball head coach Nitra Perry earned her first career win at the helm of the black and gold, taking down Troy 72-65 with a pair of 20-point performances from Kristina Wells and Sametria Gideon in the KSU Convocation Center on Wednesday afternoon.
"I'm very excited for coach Perry," said Kennesaw State Director of Athletics Vaughn Williams. "She's starting a new era for KSU basketball and it's just the beginning for her. Troy was a very good team and I'm extremely pleased for our program."
Senior forward Sametria Gideon (Madison, Ala./Bob Jones HS) made it three straight double-doubles with 25 points and 12 rebounds, the seventh highest single game total in school history, while Kristina Wells (Douglasville, Ga./Douglas County HS) ended the day with a career-high 23 points.
"I'm extremely proud of our players, they came out and played hard," said Perry. "Sametria has been bringing it every day at practice and Kristina has been consistent for us all year and she brought it again today playing out of her normal position. Shadelly (Guzman) did a great job playing point guard for us as a freshman. She's got a lot to think about on the court and today she handled it well. I was very proud of how we handled a high-pressure team. We came out with a lot of effort and played as a team."
The Owls, now 1-4 on the year, took control at the 6:37 mark in the first half on a Wells jumper that tied the game at 27. Gideon then put in the layup to give KSU a two-point advantage as the Owls held onto the lead for the remainder of the game.
The black and gold ended the first period on a 16-4 run, taking a ten point lead into the intermission at 41-31. Gideon earned a game high 15 points in the first half with Wells right behind at 14.
Troy, now 1-3, chipped away at the Kennesaw State lead, taking it down to four points in the first four minutes of the second half, 47-43. The Owls then took seven straight points with a three-pointer from Guzman (Miami, Fla./Monsignor E. Pace HS) and four more from Gideon to extend the lead to 11 for the home team with 10 minutes to play.
Chantel Kennedy (Brooklyn, N.Y./Colorado St.) put the Owls up 13, 69-56, with just under four minutes to go when back-to-back threes from the Trojans cut the lead down to five with 2:14 on the clock. A Trojan turnover and one more basket from Wells then put the game on ice for the Owls as Perry led her team to the 72-65 win.
The Owls held one of the best offenses in the country to just 65 points, forcing 30 Troy turnovers in the process.
"Troy is a team that tries to go get 80-90 points in a game," said Perry. "We knew we wanted to slow them down to about 30-40 shots and they didn't want to play a half-court game. We really forced them to slow it down and when we got the ball, we wanted to be patient and make sure we were getting the best shot we could."
The patient KSU offense was good for a season high 72 points, eclipsing the team's previous high by 18 points, shooting a stellar 44-percent from the field.
"Every day we've been coming into practice and trying to pick it up," added Gideon, who is now just seven points shy of reaching number 1,000 for her career. "We kind of got into a slump and my teammates did a great job of getting me the ball and I just tried to finish it."
KSU picked up 37 rebounds and earned 13 second chance points while outscoring the Trojans in the paint, 42-38.
Guzman helped dish out four of Kennesaw State's 12 assists during the win as well.
"It feels awesome to get the first win here, at home, with our fans," said Perry of the game. "It's like Thanksgiving came a day early. It felt awesome to get it done and it's what we needed to get the momentum going forward."
The Owls will take Thursday off before heading back out on the road for five straight, starting on Friday, Nov. 24, at Wofford for a 2 p.m. contest.
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