Lady Hurricanes capture second straight Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship

Published 1:36 pm Monday, March 11, 2024

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – Top-seeded Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) used a late 10-2 run to defeat third-seeded Columbus State University 57-52 in the championship game of the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) women’s basketball tournament on Sunday, March 10.

With the win, the Hurricanes earn their second straight tournament title and the PBC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“It means so much. These girls deserve it,” GSW Head Coach Hana Haden said. “They worked really hard. This is what they came here to do. We wanted to sustain the tradition that is being built here at GSW so it means everything to be able to do that this year.”

: GSW senior forward Kayla Langley was named the PBC Tournament MVP. She scored 20 points in 8 of 10 shooting and pulled down 11 rebounds in the win over Columbus State.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Both teams got off to a slow start in the first quarter, combining for three points over the first two and a half minutes. A three-pointer from Amber Abusbeih opened up a four-point lead for Columbus State and a three-point play from Olonna Rawls kept the lead at four 12-8 with 3:29 to go. GSW cut that lead to one at the end of the quarter on Kayla Langley’s three-point play as CSU led 14-13 at the end of the quarter.

CSU maintained that lead throughout the second quarter, but never by more than five points. GSW cut the lead to two twice, the second time on a Langley layup with 2:04 to go. Jasmine Rai Stevens answered with a three-pointer for CSU and the Cougars led 30-25 at the half.

The Hurricanes closed the gap and took their first lead of the second half midway through the third quarter as Langley converted back-to-back layups for a 33-32 lead. The two teams traded the lead five more times in the quarter before Abusbeih hit a three followed by a Letiya Reeves layup that opened up a three-point margin. CSU led 41-37 at the end of the quarter following two free throws from Simone Lett.

GSW senior guard Destiny Garrett scored five points in the win over CSU.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Columbus State led 50-47 with 3:53 to play when Langley hit back-to-back layups. That was the start of seven straight Hurricane points as CSU was kept off the board until eight seconds remained. GSW finished the game on a 10-2 run, winning the title by five.

Langley was named the Tournament MVP, leading all players with 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting and 11 rebounds. Jashanti Simmons added 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. GSW held a 41-35 edge on the boards and outscored the Cougars 32-24 in the paint.

Abusbeih led CSU with 19 points and four steals, hitting three of five three-pointers. Rawls scored eight and finished with a team-high 11 rebounds.

The Lady Hurricanes (26-3) will play Lenoir-Rhyne University at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC on Friday, March 15 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.