KSU women down JSU; get back to .500

Jan. 22—After a rough start to the season, the Kennesaw State women's basketball team has turned things around.

The Owls defeated Jacksonville State on Saturday 65-60 to even its record on the season at 9-9. They have won 5 of 6 and 8 of 11. KSU also improved to 5-2 in the ASUN, leaving them in a tie for fourth, one game out of first place. The five wins in seven conference starts matches the 2007-08 team for the best start in program history in the Division I era.

Kennesaw State shot 51 percent from the field, outscoring the Gamecocks 38-22 in the paint and 21-8 in points off turnovers. Carly Hooks was instrumental in the win with 19 points (16 in the second half) and three steals, including one in the final 30 seconds. Jah'Che Whitfield finished with 14 points and has scored in double-figures in 11 of the last 12 games.

After Jacksonville State built a 14-9 lead in the first quarter, KSU answered with a 10-0 run to go in front 19-14 with 47 seconds left. The Owls pushed the lead to 27-21 after a trio of layups from Whitfield and Amani Johnson in the middle of the second quarter.

The Gamecocks responded with a 10-2 run over the final 5:30 to retake a 31-29 lead into the break.

The Owls opened the third quarter by scoring nine points in the first two minutes to go up 38-35. Jacksonville State connected on a triple to give them back the lead, 40-38 but Hooks scored eight straight points to put KSU up 46-40 at the four-minute mark. Lyndsey Whilby connected on a 3 with 5 seconds left in the third quarter to put the Owls up 53-44.

After JSU cut the KSU lead to four 59-55, Hooks banked in a running jumper and completed the three-point play to extend the lead back to seven, 62-55, with 2:35 to go.

The Gamecocks scored four straight points to make it 62-60 with 1:15 remaining, but Hooks' steal with less than 30 seconds on the clock and two free throws from Whitfield sealed the game.