Collins powers No. 8 NC State to 1st win over Georgia, 65-54

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Mimi Collins scored 19 points and No. 8 North Carolina State earned the program’s first win over Georgia in 10 tries, posting a 65-54 victory on Monday night.

Collins, a graduate transfer from Maryland, stepped into the starting lineup with senior Jada Boyd sidelined with an injury and made the most of it. She knocked down 6 of 10 shots from the field, including a 3-pointer, hit 6 of 7 from the free-throw line and grabbed eight rebounds.

The Wolfpack won their fourth straight and completed a run of five consecutive games against ranked or Power Five conference teams. N.C. State dropped a 91-69 decision to No. 5 UConn, then posted wins over Vanderbilt, West Virginia and knocked off No. 10. Iowa, 94-81, before earning their first win over the Bulldogs.

“We played five straight Power Five’s away from home, I’m just really proud of our team for hanging in there,” N.C. State coach Wes Moore said.

Georgia started strong and had a 22-14 lead after one quarter and extended it to 11 points with 3:29 left in the second. The Bulldogs were strong off the glass, pulling down eight offensive rebounds in the first half but they proved to be turnover prone as the half wore on. Georgia committed nine turnovers in the second quarter, six in the final 3:30 as N.C. State rallied behind Collins, who scored at the basket with a minute left, then knocked down a jumper with two seconds left to get within three at intermission.

Collins knocked down her lone 3 with just under nine minutes left in the third quarter to put the Wolfpack into the lead, 33-32, and her layup with 7:04 left gave them a 39-32 advantage.

Georgia battled back. Audrey Warren drilled a 3 to get the Bulldogs within three points, 48-45, and her 3 with five minutes left combined with a Brittney Smith jumper made it 54-52, but Madison Hayes converted two free throws and Diamond Johnson drilled a 3 to make it 59-52 and N.C. State cruised home from there.

“This team has a lot of resiliency, they just keep battling and again, second half we did a much better job keeping them off the glass,” Moore said. “Some of our players didn’t have their best nights, but that’s what you have to do on a night like that; you gotta defend and rebound and find a way to win.”

Camille Hobby finished with 10 points and six rebounds for N.C. State (8-1).

Warren finished with 18 points to lead Georgia (8-2), knocking down a career-high four 3s. Smith, Diamond Battles and Alisha Lewis all added 10 points.

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