AMERICUS, Ga. – Columbus State Lady Cougars were hoping to cement their spot as the number two seed from the Peach Belt Conference Western Division in the upcoming PBC Tournament, Now the Lady Cougars are trying not to fall into the fourth seed as Georiga Southwestern defeated CSU 77-65 Monday evening in a crucial PBC game.
The two teams are now tied for second place in the PBC West Division at 7-5. North Georgia currently sits in fourth place just one game behind Columbus State and GSW. The top-four teams from each division reach the conference tournament in March.
"We fought hard and gave a really good effort tonight", stated CSU head coach Jonathan Norton.
"They (Georgia Southwestern) shot the ball really well and we helped them out by turning the ball over too much."
After a slow start, CSU (12-9, 7-5) finally got things rolling as Dominique Gilbert gave the visitors their first and only lead of the night grabbing a long rebound and making a jumper just outside of the key to put CSU up 7-6.
From there things went south quickly for the Lady Cougars. Georgia Southwestern (15-6, 7-5) went on a 16-0 run to grab a 22-9 lead midway through the half. During the spurt, CSU went 0-for-7 from the field and committed five turnovers.
CSU got a spark from Lauren Grisham as the junior connected on her first of two three-pointers of the first half to cut the deficit down to 10 (24-13) with 8:53 showing on the clock.
After the Lady Hurricanes stretched their lead back up to 13 (27-14), Columbus State rattled off seven straight points to get within six, 31-25 with just under four minutes to go in the half.
Georgia Southwestern took a 42-32 lead into the break thanks to Jessica Bivins who made a three-point shot with 15 seconds showing on the clock.
The Lady Cougars again came within six of GSW right out of the break as Marina DeFoor knocked down a three-pointer from the left wing. DeFoor stole a pass after Asha Alexander went 1-of-2 from the line.
Similar to the first half, the Lady Hurricanes pulled away with an impressive run, this time a 14-0 spurt to take a 20-point lead with 15:26 left in the game. The 20-point margin was the largest of the game.
Wanting to makes things interesting one final time, Columbus State went on a 10-0 run which was kicked started by a DeFoor three at the 7:45 mark. Kiersten Reid followed that up with a trifecta of her own and a pair of free throws by Lauren Matheney and Alexander brought the Lady Cougars within six once again (67-61) with 4:18 left in the game.
Georgia Southwestern iced the game with two fast break lay-ups including one that resulted in a three-point play to put the game out of reach.
Dominique Gilbert led Columbus State in scoring netting in 13 points while bringing down a game high 14 rebounds for her 10th double-double of the season and the fifth in a row. After being perfect from the field in the first half, Lauren Grisham finished the night with 10 points.
Asha Alexander dished out eight assists, which is the most by any Lady Cougar this season and a new career high for the sophomore.
A quartet of players scored in double-figures for Georgia Southwestern paced by Terra Branch who scored 19. Tania Walters (16 pts.), Jessica Jones (15 pts.) and Jessica Bivins (14 pts.) all had good scoring nights.
GSW forced 17 CSU miscues while also winning the rebound 40-36.