NORFOLK (ODU SPORTS) — It was uncomfortably close for the Old Dominion women’s basketball team with just under three minutes left, as the Monarchs were mired in a 51-51 tie with Georgia State.

But ODU turned on its afterburners and rallied to claim a 60-54 victory over the Panthers before a relieved Chartway Arena crowd of 2,397 in the annual Hoops for the Cure game.

The victory was the fifth in a row and 10th in the last 12 games for ODU (18-9 overall, 10-4 Sun Belt), which remains tied with Texas State and James Madison for second place in the Sun Belt standings with four games left to play before the conference tournament.

Although the Monarchs won, it was far from a classic, ODU-like performance.

Georgia State (10-17, 4-10) had lost eight of its last 10 entering Saturday’s game, is 11th in the Sun Belt and was 1-11 on the road. ODU head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones said she could tell during pre-game warmups that her players weren’t emotionally ready to play. 

“We cannot come out and put that kind of display against any team,” Milton-Jones said. “Imagine if that was James Madison? We would not have gotten out of here with a win.”

Kaye Clark , who led the Monarchs in scoring with 12 points and had six assists, agreed with her coach.

“If we’d come out against James Madison like we did today, they would have put us on our backs and run over us,” she said. 

“We need to come out stronger in the start of both the first half and second half.”

Clark, whom Milton-Jones is pushing for Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year, had another sterling defensive performance. She had a steal, constantly disrupted Georgia State’s offensive flow and blocked two shots, including a three-pointer when the game was still tight in the fourth quarter.

Amari Young had nine points, including a couple of key baskets in the fourth quarter, and 15 of ODU’s 39 rebounds.