GSW's rally from 18 down falls short

GSW's rally from 18 down falls short

AMERICUS – The Columbus State women's basketball team defeated Georgia Southwestern 80-73 Wednesday night in the Storm Dome.

The Lady Hurricanes drop to 12-13 overall and 6-10 in Peach Belt play. CSU improves to 15-10 on the season and 8-8 in the PBC.

The Lady Cougars took a 5-2 advantage when Marina DeFoor knocked down a three-pointer a minute and twenty-one seconds into the game.

GSW outscored Columbus State 8-2 over the next three and a half minutes to take a 10-7 lead with just under 16 minutes remaining in the opening half.

Columbus State answered with a 9-0 run to give the visitors a 16-10 edge with 12:27 to go in the first half.

Georgia Southwestern chipped away at the lead over the next four minutes eventually tying the contest at 21-21. 

Columbus State would then go on a 14-3 spurt to take their biggest lead of the half, 35-24 with 3:36 to go in the half.   

The Lady Hurricanes showed their resiliency all half and once again clawed back, pulling to within five, 37-32, at the halftime break.

CSU came out firing to begin the second half, posting a 15-2 outburst to put the Lady Cougars ahead 52-34 with 16:21 left in the game. 

The feisty GSW squad responded with its own remarkable run to get back into the game. Over the next eight minutes, the Lady Hurricanes outscored CSU 22-5 to pull within a point, 57-56 with 8:26 remaining.  Six different players scored during that span, led by Jessica Bivins and Tara Branch who each netted seven points. 

After forcing a turnover when GSW had possession to potentially take the lead, the Lady Cougars outscored GSW 14-8 taking a nine point advantage (73-64) with just under two minutes remaining. 

Columbus State hit 5 of 6 from the free throw line to close out the game and put GSW in the postition where the Lady 'Canes must knock off the No. 1 team in the country and get a North Georgia loss to make the postseason. 

The Lady Hurricanes had four players score in double figures led by Bivens (13 points). Branch and Nadirah Gardner added 12 points apiece. Tania Walters scored 10. 

GSW forced 26 Columbus State turnovers including registering 15 steals. GSW shot 29-for-70 (41.4%) from the field including just 3-for-13 (23.1%) from downtown.

A balanced offensive attack saw five different Lady Cougars hit double digits led by Tandria Milton's 17 points. Nakita Holt added 12 points, eight assists and also grabbed a game-high seven rebounds. CSU shot a season-best 52.6% (30-for-57) from the floor and out-rebounded GSW, 44-33.

Southwestern closes the regular season on Saturday with Senior Night against No. 1 Clayton State beginning at 5:30 p.m.