The Paine women's basketball team is off to its best start in coach Selina Kohn's tenure.
You'd never be able to tell by talking to the eighth-year coach after the Lady Lions scratched out a 65-58 conference-opening win Thursday night over Kentucky State at Carter Gym.
Kisha Lucette scored 11 points with 14 rebounds as Paine, in its first home game of the season, improved to 3-1, 1-0 in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Savoyia Barrett added 11 points.
The Lady Lions shot 34 percent from the floor and committed 29 turnovers. They also struggled on defense in transition.
But what ate away at Kohn was a blown 11-point lead in the second-half.
"People always say a win is a win," she said. "Well if we keep playing this way, it's going to come back and haunt us."
Paine rebounded from a 21-point loss at Georgia College & State on Tuesday, when Kohn said her team was outmatched physically, and the Lady Lions played porous defense.
Kentucky State (0-2, 0-1) found holes in the Paine defense, shooting 43 percent from the field with three double-digit scorers. Helena Times led the pack with 16 points and 11 boards.
But the Thorobrettes committed 31 turnovers and found themselves down 31-25 at intermission.
Paine extended its lead to 11 on Natoria Rowland's two free throws with 13 minutes remaining.
Down 10, Kentucky State soon blistered the Lady Lions with its transition offense. With Paine's guard failing to get back in time, the Thorobrettes found open lanes to the basket on a 14-3 run.
Times made one free throw to give her team a 51-50 lead with 5:16 left in the game.
"They got that second wind, and we didn't seem to get ours," Kohn said. "We spent a lot of time watching them play."
Paine eventually regrouped. Velvet King penetrated the lane and dished to Barrett in the corner for a 3-pointer. Lucette added two free throws, and King scored on a putback as Paine assumed a six-point lead with 2 minutes remaining.
"We know we have to come out with focus," Lucette said. "We were shaky a little bit. But we knew we had to come together quickly."
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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