As it turned out, not much offense was required as the Lady Owls beat USC Upstate 54-45 in an Atlantic Sun Conference game at the KSU Convocation Center.
After entering the game eighth in the A-Sun standings, the victory brought the Lady Owls (10-13, 5-7) into a tie for sixth with Jacksonville and North Florida. The higher, the better, as only the top eight seeds qualify for the A-Sun tournament in Macon.
Kennesaw State beat Upstate by limiting the Spartans' leading scorer, Tee'Ara Copney, to eight points. The Lady Owls also allowed just one player, Tyra Smith, to reach double figures with 16 points.
The Spartans (6-16, 5-6) were also forced into 23 turnovers, and were held to 32.1 percent (17-for-53) from the field.
Kennesaw State outrebounded Upstate 44-28.
"The players continue to play hard defensively," Lady Owls coach Colby Tilley said. "Any time you can hold Upstate to 45 points, you're doing good."
Kennesaw State's defensive success outweighed its struggles on offense, especially in the second half, when Upstate picked up its defensive intensity after trailing by as many as 16 points early in the first half.
The Lady Owls, who shot 36.5 percent (19-for-52) on the night, got away with committing 28 turnovers of their own, including 17 coming in the second half.
But despite all the problems they were having offensively in the second half, the Lady Owls never trailed.
In the first seven minutes of play, Kennesaw State seemed on its way to a lopsided victory.
After Upstate got on to board first with a pair of Smith free throws, the Lady Owls went on an 8-0 and ultimately took a 16-4 lead. The Spartans, started the game 1-for-9, and top scorer Copney didn't score until there was 1:20 left to play in the first half.
Kennesaw State's first-half grew to 22-6 midway through before Upstate adjusted by becoming more aggressive on the perimeter. That's when the Kennesaw State turnovers began to mount.
The Spartans worked their way back into the contest. Upstate ended the half on a 12-4 run that trimmed the Lady Owls' lead to 31-26.
Kennesaw State struggled to take care of the ball as Upstate continued chipping away in the second half.
"We had a bad span in the second half, but we recovered nicely," Tilley said. "Some of our turnovers aren't bad because we try to do a lot with the ball."
One constant for the Lady Owls was Lisa Capellan, who was 7-of-12 from the field, scored a career-high 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Whenever Upstate threatened in the second half, Capellan seemed to come up with timely 10-foot jump shots.
"Once my first three shots fell, I knew I was going to have a good night," said the junior from New York.
Once Upstate got within one point, 45-44, on Copney's layup with 3:18 left, the Lady Owls pulled away for good. They made the defensive stops when they needed them, and they made their way to the free-throw line.
Taylor Mills went to the line three times in the final 2 minutes and made all six of her shots to help Kennesaw State get separation. Ashley Holliday also added two more foul shots in the final seconds after coming up with a timely steal.
Former Hillgrove High School Chelcey Farrar finished with 14 points for Kennesaw State, while Sametria Gideon had nine points and 14 rebounds.
Mills, a freshman who entered the game averaging a team-high 13.3 points per game, scored nine, but she was only 1-for-7 from the field.