The 15th-ranked Columbus State Lady Cougars opened their Peach Belt Conference schedule with a dominant 60-45 victory over UNC Pembroke on Thursday night at the Lumpkin Center.
Michelle Mitchell led the way with 20 points. It was the fifth consecutive 20-point outing for the senior. Joining her in double figures were Brea Walker with 12 points and Britteny Tatum with 10.
"You could tell we were a little rusty after taking time off for finals, but I was pleased overall with the effort," head coach Jonathan Norton said. "We did well on the defensive end in stretches, holding them to just 45 points tonight, and made enough shots on the offensive end to take care of business."
UNC Pembroke (4-4, 0-2) got on the board first on its opening possession, but the two-point edge would be its largest of the night. Mitchell made back-to-back baskets to give the Lady Cougars the lead and scored the first seven points overall for CSU.
Columbus State (6-1, 1-0) held just a two-point advantage (13-11) with under two minutes to go in the first quarter, but a quick 8-0 run over the final 1:13 stretched the lead to double figures after the first 10 minutes. Walker and Tatum bookended threes around a Gabby Williams bucket.
The run continued into the second quarter for the Lady Cougars as Erin Morrow hit a three and Walker connected again from outside to open up a 16-point lead. The long stretch finished at 17 straight points as CSU held a 30-11 lead with just under seven minutes until halftime.
The Braves finally got back on the scoreboard on a three from Avery Locklear, breaking an 8:33 dry spell. UNCP ran off seven more unanswered to pull within nine (30-21) at the break.
UNC Pembroke continued to cut into the lead in the third quarter, scoring the fix six points to make it a 30-27 game. Spanning the two quarters, UNCP went on a 16-0 run.
Mitchell finally ended the CSU drought with 6:09 left in the quarter, stopping a stretch of over 10 minutes without a point for the Lady Cougars. The basket led to Columbus State pulling away, as the Lady Cougars turned it into an 11-0 run as UNCP would not get within single digits the rest of the way.
CSU shot just 36.5 percent (23-of-63) on the night, but made 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) from beyond the arc. The Lady Cougar defense was stingy once again, limiting UNC Pembroke to 29 percent (18-for-62) shooting. The Braves made just 4-of-17 (23.5 percent) three-point attempts.
Columbus State will play host to USC Aiken inside the Lumpkin Center on Saturday, Dec. 19th. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.