By CHRIS WHITAKER
AMERICUS - Augusta State didn't play like it was the worst team in the Peach Belt in the first half of Thursday's game against Georgia Southwestern.
But fortunately for the Lady Hurricanes, Jessica Bivins had her best game of the season.
The Stetson transfer had made 10 3-pointers all season. But she had the hot hand, pouring in a season-high 30 points, including six threes as GSW opened the second half on a 20-4 run en route to a 77-69 win.
"We've known that's been her potential since she's been here," said coach Kelly Britsky. "We've waited for her to find a day like this - and she's gotten better and better the last few games - and it's good to see her finally get a hot hand. We knew if she lit it up, nothing could stop her."
GSW (9-9, 4-4 PBC) had a battle on its hands in the first half as the game went back and forth until the Lady Hurricanes scored the final four of the half to go into the locker room up 36-33.
Bivins had 18 in the half on 7 of 11 shooting; the rest of the
team were 8-for-21.
Eboni Davis and Brittany Jarrard had 10 points apiece for the Lady Jaguars (1-17, 0-9) in the first half with five 3-pointers.
"They're not a bad team," said Britsky. "They are very hungry for a win, and they have a lot of girls that were on that Sweet 16 national tournament team. They're a lot better, and they're going to get some people before it's over with. It reminds me of last year with us. A given night could swing their way. I told the girls at halftime the longer they stay in the game, the more they believe they could win the ball game."
GSW came out with Whitley Wiltz scoring two of her 21 in the first seven seconds into the half as it distanced itself from Augusta State in the first six minutes. The Lady Jaguars were 2 of 10 with four turnovers during that span.
"We really just talked about the importance of getting out early in the second half and get on them and pull the rug out from under their feet and the confidence they built in the first half," said Britsky. We got on top, but give August some credit. They came back in the last five minutes and made it difficult for us. Glad we had the large lead and held on."
The Lady Hurricanes built a 70-49 lead with 6:14 remaining in the game when the Lady Jaguars made their final push.
Bivins finished 12 of 19 from the field, and Wiltz was 9 of 12, making both of her 3-point attempts. GSW made nine threes in the game; the previous season-high was seven.
"Whitley really did a great job early on; she found herself in
good position in the paint and went to work against their two post
defenders. She's capable of doing that every night."
Nadirah Gardner and Brandi Burris each scored nine while Brittany Reynolds had eight with 11 rebounds.
Davis led Augusta with 16 while Jarrard had 14, and Waneta Carlisle had 13.
GSW is back at home Saturday against Lander (17-1, 10-0). Tip is 1:30 p.m.
|Bivins' Big Night - 30 points, six three-pointers|
|Before Thursday's performance from Jessica Bivins, the last Lady Hurricane to...|
Connect on six three-pointers in a game
|Leigha Frady||6-of-8||at Southern Wesleyan||Dec. 12, 2005|
|Score 30+ points in a game||Sophia Small||31 pts.||at Columbia College (S.C.)||Feb. 9, 2006|
PICTURED: Jessica Bivins
PHOTO BY: Chris Fenn