GSW falls a point shy of the PBC Final Four, loses to No. 1 seed in OT
The Georgia Southwestern women's basketball team had the top seed in the Peach Belt Conference West Division on the ropes in the second half Tuesday night, but was unable to deliver the knockout blow and the hosts from Georgia College rallied to defeat the Lady 'Canes 60-59 in overtime of the quarterfinals of the PBC Tournament at the Centennial Center.
GSW finishes the season with a 12-16 record. The Lady ‘Canes had the second-biggest turnaround in the PBC standings from 2008-09 with four more wins coming this season. Georgia College (21-7) advances to the semifinals to face Francis Marion on Saturday at USC Aiken.
On Tuesday night in Milledgeville, GSW controlled the tempo early and grabbed the lead for the first time (6-5) with 16:52 remaining in the opening half. Although the margin was never more than four points, the Lady ‘Canes held the lead until the 6:12 mark.
The GCSU lead was short-lived as a Whitley Wiltz free throw on the ensuing possession tied the game (16-16) and, after a defensive stop, Southwestern regained the lead on a three-pointer by Jessica Bivins with 4:59 left in the half.
The Lady Hurricanes led 23-20 at the intermission.
GSW opened the second stanza with a 9-2 run to build their biggest lead of the game at 32-22 with 15:44 remaining in regulation.
Georgia College erased the GSW lead with a 19-5 run over the next 8:52, a span in which the Lady ‘Canes committed six turnovers and went 0 of 5 from the floor.
The Bobcats eventually built a seven-point lead (41-34), but GSW refused to go away. The Lady ‘Canes responded with a 10-0 run to regain the lead (44-41) with 4:37 left in the second half.
The teams exchanged the lead four times over the next four minutes. A Wiltz free throw with 13 seconds on the clock gave GSW a 52-50 lead. Georgia College was able to draw a foul when Chimere Jordan drove the baseline with 2.5 seconds left. Jordan hit both free throw attempts to send the game into overtime.
In the extra session, the Lady Hurricanes scored the first basket six seconds into play. It would turn out to be the last lead GSW would hold this season.
Georgia College went on an 8-1 run, to build a five-point lead (60-55) with 17 seconds left. Brittany Reynolds added a free throw and Bivins connected on a three-pointer to close out the scoring.
In what was a total team effort, the Lady Hurricanes had five players finish in double figures. Reynolds closed out her collegiate career by leading GSW with 16 points. She was 8 of 10 from the charity stripe. Fellow senior Wiltz posted her fifth double-double of the season with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Bivins was 3 of 8 from beyond the arc and scored 11 points. Kanita Holloway and Nadirah Gardner added 10 points apiece.
GCSU's Jordan led all scorers with 22 points. Tammeshia Law added 16 and Shandrea Moore chipped in 15.
GCSU had five more steals (14-9) than Southwestern and held a 30-14 points in the paint advantage. The Lady Hurricanes turned the ball over six more times (22-16) than Georgia College, but picked up 11 more points from their bench (13-2) than the Bobcats.