Lady Cougars overcome slow start to beat GSW

COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Columbus State Lady Cougars missed their first five shots of the game and fell behind 13-1 to Georgia Southwestern before battling back to defeat the Lady Hurricanes 64-54 in a key Peach Belt Conference game inside the Lumpkin Center.

With the victory, CSU (16-10, 11-6) clinched the second seed from the West Division in next week's PBC Tournament in Columbus. The Lady Cougars will take on UNC Pembroke Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Unlike CSU, Georgia Southwestern came out hot making six out of their first 11 shot attempts to jump out to a 13-1 lead with 15:37 remaining in the opening half. GSW had a very balanced attack with five different players scoring during the run.

From there, Columbus State slowly began chipping away at the deficit cutting it to eight (16-8) with 12:49 left in the first half as Chatil Bradford completed a three-point play after being fouled on a successful layup attempt.

Another old fashion three-point play by the Lady Cougars made the score 19-13 with 10:38 showing on the clock. Carrie Washington finished off the layup after being fouled by Adrian Randall. A Dominique Gilbert jumper on the next possession pulled CSU within four (19-15) midway through the first half.

GSW scored the next five points to quickly take a nine-point advantage. Jessica Bivins hit a three with 9:01 on the clock to make the score 24-15.

The two sides would exchange buckets for the remainder of the half until CSU scored the final four points making it a 34-32 game at the break.

Asha Alexander made the first basket of the second half to knot the game at 34 all. It was the first time since the opening tip that the game was tied. Alexander stole a pass on the next possession and laid in a bucket to give CSU a 36-34 lead, their first advantage of the day.

After a pair of free throws by Lauren Matheney, Terra Branch connected on a three-pointer bringing Georgia Southwestern to within one (38-37) of CSU with 16:22 left in the game.

In one of their most impressive stretches of the season, the Lady Cougars outscored GSW 21-8 over the next nine minutes to take a commanding 61-47 lead with 6:16 remaining in the game. During the run, Davenport scored seven points while Marina DeFoor knocked down two from long range.

Dominique Gilbert recorded her 11th double-double of the season as she scored a game high 15 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. She also blocked five shots upping her season total to 68 becoming the all-time single-season record holder.

Asha Alexander and Letiecia Davenport each scored 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Adrian Randall scored 15 for Georgia Southwestern going 7-for-13 from the field. Tania Walters brought down a game high 12 rebounds.

As a team, GSW shot 28.4 percent (21-for-74) while shooting 18.8 percent (6-for-32) in the second half.

Columbus State will now prepare for the Peach Belt Conference Tournament. The women's quarterfinals begin on Thursday, March 1 with the Lady Cougars playing the final game of the evening against UNC Pembroke, the third seed from the PBC East. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET at the Lumpkin Center.