Lady Cougars outlast Flagler

CSU 79, Flagler 74

COLUMBUS, Ga. – It's all about winning the grinders. The Columbus State Lady Cougars prevailed once again in Peach Belt Conference action with a 79-74 win over Flagler College. CSU is now 7-2 in games decided by five points or less. The win boosts CSU to 11-4, 6-3 in the PBC while the Saints dropped to 6-10, 4-5 in the league.

Fourth-year senior leaders Asha Alexander and Chatil Bradford each posted 22 points to lead the Lady Cougars, both having double-double performances with 10 and 11 rebounds, respectively. It was Alexander's third and Bradford's fifth of the season. Tae Smith added 14 points and Dee Dee Deshazer contributed 11. Carrie Washington put up three blocks to bring her three-year career total to 59, six shy of the fourth spot in the CSU Record Book.

The Saints were led by Williesha Spencer with 23 points. Shelbi Lindsey had a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Treva Mason's double-double consisted of 12 points and a game-high 12 boards.

Columbus State had early shooting struggles, 2-for-10 in the first four minutes, as the Saints marched ahead to a 14-7 lead. Flagler maintained a steady seven-point advantage until Deshazer hit a trey at 12:35 to pull the Lady Cougars within four points, 18-14.

Flagler would go on to lead by as much as nine points with 3:06 left in the half after back-to-back three pointers by Lindsey and Rodnecia Brown, but Columbus State finished strong before the break with an 11-2 run. Alexander knocked down a jumper at the buzzer to tie it up 35-35.

Alexander had 10 points and six rebounds in the half. Despite shooting woes, the Lady Cougars hit 4-for-6 in the last three minutes and pulled their field goal percentage up to 32.5 percent.

A pair of free throws by Alexander at 16:52 gave CSU its first lead, 41-39, since three minutes into the game. Lindsey and Smith exchanged three-pointers then Ashley Asouzu dropped in a layup to give the Lady Cougars their biggest lead yet, 46-42 with 15 minutes remaining in regulation.

The Saints quickly tied it back up 46-all at 13:59, the first of six ties in the next four-plus minutes. Bradford scored 12 straight points for the Lady Cougars to give them the 66-62 edge at the 5:44 mark.

Mason made a jumper at 3:36 for the 12th tie of the half, 66-66, drew a foul but was unable to complete the three-point play. The Lady Cougars scored seven unanswered points until Mason made a layup to bring Flagler within five, 77-72, with only 15 seconds left.

Bradford nailed two free throws with nine seconds to go, and though Spencer took the ball in for a layup, it was too little too late as CSU secured a 79-74 win over Flagler.

Flagler was 2-for-8 from the charity stripe in the second half. Columbus State was 4-for-6 in the last 35 seconds and had a game total of 69.6 percent (16-for-23).

The Lady Cougars will head back on the road for next weekend's PBC women's hoops action. CSU plays at Georgia Southwestern on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET and at No. 19 North Georgia on next Monday at 5:30 p.m. ET. The Lady Cougars return to the Lumpkin Center on Saturday, February 1, facing No. 24 Georgia College at 1:30 p.m. ET.