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ODU Women's Basketball Team Holds Off Georgia State Rally at the Foul Line to Claim 73-65 victory


En'Dya Buford led ODU with 18 points.

By Harry Minium
NORFOLK, Va. – On an afternoon when some of its most storied alumni were on hand to watch, the Old Dominion women's basketball team extended its mastery of Georgia State, winning for the 12th consecutive time against the Panthers.
Led by En'Dya Buford's 18 points, including 10 points on 10 attempts from the free throw line in the final 2:15, the Monarchs defeated the Panthers, 73-65, on alumni day at Chartway Arena.
It was the second victory in a row and the fifth in the last seven games for ODU (14-5 overall, 6-3 Sun Belt). The game drew a boisterous crowd of 3,198, the second largest of the season.
Nearly 40 former players and coaches were introduced at halftime, including former coach Wendy Larry and All-American Ticha Penicheiro as well as Celeste Hill, Amari Young, Adrienne Goodson, Nyree Roberts and Stacy Himes.
Goodson, a member of the 1985 national championship team, wore a jersey honoring the late Medina Dixon, a former ODU All-American.
"It's always a treat to play when our alumni are watching," said head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones.
"They bring an energy with them, and with so many of them, a championship energy. And they don't just show up for our alumni game. So many have come to visit us at practice."
ODU showed very little energy in the first two minutes as Georgia State's Mikyla Tolivert and Mya Williams had back-to-back steals and layups. Milton-Jones responded with a timeout two minutes into the game to quickly get her team focused.
ODU played with more focus the rest of the way and led for all but three minutes. The Monarchs took a 14-point lead three minutes into the fourth quarter after a 7-0 run that included two free throws and a layup from Kaye Clark and a three pointer from Mimi McCollister.

Even so, Georgia State gave the Monarchs a scare in the final minutes.
ODU saw the lead dip to six on two Patience Williams foul shots with 2:45 left.
With time running short, and ODU holding the ball as long as possible, Georgia State began to press, and the Monarchs called on Buford to win the game for them.
A 5-foot-7 junior college transfer guard from Memphis, Buford was injured in ODU's 68-49 victory over Appalachian State Thursday night. She was carried off the court by Roland Jones, husband of the head coach, in obvious pain.
Following the game her foot was in a boot, but after a day and a half of treatment, she said her leg felt fine.
With 2:15 left, and ODU working the clock, she was fouled on a missed layup, the first of five consecutive possessions in which she was fouled.  Remarkably, nine of her 10 free throws did not touch the rim – they hit nothing but net.

WBB-Old Dominion Women's Basketball alumni pose for a photo during halftime of the Monarchs' Jan. 27, 2024 home game vs. Georgia State
ODU women's basketball alumni

Georgia State kept responding by scoring on the other end, including a three-point shot from Williams that narrowed the lead to 67-62 with 1:03 left. And Buford kept on making free throws.
The Panthers (11-8, 5-4) finally missed on the next possession and Buford pulled down her eighth rebound of the game and was fouled. Her two free throws made is 71-62 with 50 seconds to go.
Point guard Jordan McLaughlin made two free throws with 23 seconds left to make give ODU a 12-for-12 performance over less than two minutes.
Buford said being treated with ice, and a special concoction of juice and vitamins, allowed her to recover quickly, courtesy of athletic trainer Andilynn Johannes.
"She did everything they can to get me better," Buford said of Johannes.
It was a balanced scoring night for ODU, with 14 players playing 2:58 or more. Nine players scored. And only Clark (33:01) and McLaughlin (32:03) played more than 30 minutes.
McLaughlin had 12 points and four assists while Clark added 10 points and three steals.
Brenda Fontana had eight points and Simone Cunningham seven points and 10 rebounds.
"Our mindset is to use as many players as we can," Milton-Jones said. "We didn't recruit players to come and just sit on the bench.
"We recruited them so that they can come and play an integral part of our success."
ODU lost to James Madison in last year's Sum Belt Tournament semifinals and Milton-Jones said fatigue was a factor.
"Some of our players were just worn out," she said, noting that Amari Young got hurt against JMU.
"We want to get more people acclimated in the regular season so that in tournament play, they are fresh and confident."
The Monarchs are on the road next week, with games at Texas State on Jan. 31 and Arkansas State on Feb. 3. They return home on Wednesday, Feb. 7, when they host Troy.