By Chris Whitaker, The Americus Times-Recorder
Brittany Reynolds was one of four players who were on the court when Georgia Southwestern won its last conference game - a 76-75 overtime win at Augusta State on Feb. 24, 2007.
The streak of 30-consecutive conference losses came to an end on Wednesday when Reynolds scored 18 points to lead Georgia Southwestern past North Georgia, 76-64. Reynolds led four in double figures, and the win also ended a 11-game skid this season and was the school's first conference win in January in 26 tries.
"It feels great because once you start losing games, you get in that losing mentality," said Reynolds, who also had six rebounds. "It's hard to get back in that mentality where you have to win. Most games we've played, we knew we could beat those teams. It's a matter of playing the whole 40 minutes."
The Lady Hurricanes (6-12, 1-10 PBC) have suffered four conference losses by seven points or less this season, but they managed to get the lead and hold onto it this time.
"Finally," said coach Kelly Britsky. "We still have a chance to get in the conference tournament. North Georgia was ahead of us, and we knew we had to knock them off. This one tonight is big in so many realms - not to only get our first win in the Peach Belt, but to stay alive."
GSW led by as many as 24 in the first half and led 38-22 at intermission.
Reynolds said they knew, however, there was still the second
half ahead of them.
"This was the first time in conference games that we actually came out and had the lead at halftime," she said. "Coaches told us to play like we're down so we wouldn't come out lazy. The win was well overdue."
Terra Branch scored six points in a 36-second span that put the Lady Hurricanes ahead 51-27 with just under 16 minutes to play. The Lady Saints closed to within 67-60 with 2:22 remaining, but got no closer.
"They made a good run, but we did everything we had to do at the end," said Britsky. "The girls are playing so hard, and we've lost a couple of really close ones. Tonight for the first time we were trying to hold on, and it was nice.
"Give the kids the gratification for their hard work. It keeps
us alive, and it's awesome."
Jamilah Sharp, Brandi Burris and Nadirah Gardner all scored 13 points. Sharp grabbed nine boards, Gardner made four steals, and Burris made 6 of 12 field goals.
"It's the first time in a long time that we've had four in
double figures," said Britsky.
GSW held a 52-33 rebounding edge and 14-5 in second-chance points. Its shooting was up at 43 percent, and the Lady Hurricanes held North Georgia (5-12, 2-8) to 37 percent. Instead of hoisting a lot of 3-pointers, GSW was 4 of 8 in the game.
Syretha Marble and Whitney Randolph each had 21 points to lead the Lady Saints.
The win separates GSW and North Georgia by one game; only the top 10 teams will make the conference tournament at the end of the season.
"I think we can beat them at home again," said Reynolds. "We need to make sure we get more wins than they do. I think we can pull it off, and there are teams I feel we should have beaten. We want to make history for GSW."
GSW is back at home on Saturday against Lander, which lost to Francis Marion, 100-79. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. Fans are encouraged to wear blue to show their support for GSW.