Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

December 3, 2013

Lady ‘Canes split contests in PBC/SIAC Women's Basketball Challenge

AMERICUS — Georgia Southwestern sliced a 16-point deficit to five in the second half, but could get no closer as Albany State beat the Lady Hurricanes, 73-61, on Saturday afternoon in the second game of the Peach Belt Conference/Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Challenge held in the Storm Dome.

GSW fell to 3-2 overall this season while the Golden Rams improved to 3-1. Southwestern won the first three meetings between the schools after joining the NCAA ranks in 2006-07, but Albany State has come out on top the last two contests.

ASU jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead on Saturday, but the Lady Hurricanes responded with a 12-5 run to grab their only lead in the game at 14-13 with 12:19 left until the half. GSW was held scoreless over the next 7 1/2 minutes during which time they missed eight consecutive shots.

Jasmine McSwain stopped the bleeding with a 3-point basket at the 4:45 mark to pull Southwestern within 12 points (29-17).

The Lady Hurricanes trailed 38-24 at halftime.

Kourtney Alexander opened the second period with a layup to put ASU ahead by 16 points. That's when GSW began to chip away at the deficit. A layup by Shanedra Lockett pulled the Lady 'Canes within nine, 49-40, at the 13:19 mark. ASU built its lead back to 13 before Southwestern eventually cut the margin to five when McSwain drained another 3-pointer to make it a 57-52 game.

GSW trailed by five on two more occasions, the last coming with 4:20 to play (60-55). ASU connected on 7 of 9 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

McSwain finished with 17 points and seven steals to lead GSW. Lockett added 13 points on 6 of 10 shooting and Tiara Thompson and Shatoria Hudson dropped in 10 points apiece.

ASU had two players finish with double-doubles. Keidra Green scored 23 while pulling down 10 rebounds and Artisha Holston added 12 points and grabbed a game-high 16 boards. Alexander chipped in 12 points.

The Golden Rams needed 16 fewer shot attempts to get to their 73 points as the Lady Hurricanes shot 35.8 percent from the field (24 of 67) while ASU connected on 29 of 51 to finish over 50 percent (56.9) for the game.

The Lady Hurricanes launched 20 shots from beyond the arc, but connected on only four. ASU held a substantial advantage on the glass as well, outrebounding GSW 42-30.

In the second game of the tournament for GSW on Sunday afternoon, Lockett carried the load in the second half as the Lady ‘Canes pulled away from Fort Valley State for an 85-67 victory. The junior from Roberta, Ga., accounted for half of the Lady Hurricanes field goals over the final 20 minutes.

Lockett connected on 5 of 9 attempts (55.6 percent) in the second half while her teammates collectively hit on 5 of 25 from the floor (20.0 percent). Lockett finished with a game-high 21 points.

The Lady Hurricanes improved to 4-2 this season with the win while Fort Valley State fell to 1-5. The win is GSW's first against the Lady Wildcats since joining the NCAA in 2006-07.

GSW jumped out to a 7-0 lead on Sunday, but the Lady Wildcats were quick to close the gap. FVSU pulled within 9-7 at the 16:30 mark of the first half and eventually took the lead, 17-14, on a Katice Williams 3-pointer which was part of a run where GSW was outscored 16-1. Briana Shepherd capped the rally with a jumper that gave FVSU its largest lead of the afternoon, 23-15, with 10:49 until the break.

That's when momentum shifted to GSW's favor. The Lady Hurricanes wiped out the deficit with a 10-2 run and went back-and-forth with FVSU over the closing minutes of the opening period until Shaniece Sheffield drained a 3-pointer to close out the scoring in the half and send GSW into the break with a 44-39 lead.

Back-to-back buckets from FVSU after Tiara Thompson opened the second half with a layup for GSW pulled the visitors within three points, 46-43. That's as close as the Lady Wildcats would get the rest of the way.

A 12-2 run by Southwestern that extended over a five minute span starting at the 8:16 mark provided some breathing room down the stretch.

GSW opened its lead to 20 points with a minute to play when Shatoria Hudson connected on a pair of free throws.

Southwestern had five players score in double figures. Thompson made 6 of 10 shots en route to her 15 points. Sheffield added 12 and Hudson and Sierra Barrino-Kennedy chipped in 10 points apiece. Thompson, Hudson and Danyelle Jones tied for the team lead as each pulled down six rebounds.

FVSU had one player score in double figures. Davina High led the Lady Wildcats with 14 points. High and Shepherd grabbed nine boards apiece.

The Lady Hurricanes needed nine fewer shot attempts to get to their 85 points as FVSU shot 36.6 percent from the field (26 of 71) while GSW connected on 26 of 62 to finish at 41.9 percent for the game.

The Lady Hurricanes forced FVSU into four more turnovers (28-24) and held the advantage on the glass, outrebounding FVSU 49-45. Both teams relied heavily on points off the bench. The Lady Wildcats reserves scored 41 while non-starters for GSW accounted for 37 points.

Southwestern returns to the hardwood on Saturday afternoon to open PBC play against Georgia College at 1:30 p.m. in the Storm Dome.

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