FLORENCE – Three players reached double figures in scoring as the University of North Alabama women's basketball team opened play in the 2019 Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) with a 64-57 victory over Georgia State Thursday evening at Flowers Hall. With the win, UNA improves to 20-8 on the season and advances to play at Southern Mississippi in the second round. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. on Monday in Hattiesburg, Miss.
The victory on Thursday gives UNA its second straight 20-win season for the first time since the 1979-80 and 1980-81 campaigns. Emma Wallen, Ivy Wallen and Brittany Panetti accounted for 55 of UNA's 64 points on the night. Emma Wallen hit five three-point baskets and finished with a game-high 20 points. She also added four blocked shots.
The Lions used a fast start to grab an early lead. Four different players scored as North Alabama opened the game on an 11-3 run. Georgia State was able to close the gap to 14-10 by the end of the opening quarter.
An early second-quarter run by the visitors gave Georgia State a one-point lead. The Panthers scored five straight points to take a brief 17-16 lead with 5:39 remaining in the half. The Lions, however, regained the lead on the ensuing possession with a basket by Panetti and took a 26-21 lead into the break.
Georgia State got within three early in the third period before UNA stretched the lead to double digits. Panetti connected from close range and each Wallen sister hit a three-pointer in an 8-0 spurt to give the Lions a 37-26 lead at the 6:31 mark.
A basket by Panetti as time expired made the score 50-41 heading into the fourth quarter. GSU could get no closer than five points in the final period. A basket by Ivy Wallen with 2:20 to play stretched the lead to 63-53. UNA held a 10-point in the closing seconds before a three-pointer by the Panthers wrapped up the scoring on the night.
Ivy Wallen finished the night with 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. She moves into the Top 4 of UNA's all-time scoring list with 1,309 career points. Panetti also notched her second double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Allison Johnson led Georgia State (17-14) with 13 points.
Wallen's 20 Leads North Alabama to WBI Victory in Opening Round
|Georgia State (17-14)||10||11||20||16||57|
|North Alabama (20-8)||14||13||23||14||64|