COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Georgia Southwestern Lady 'Canes were looking to continue their great start to the 2011-12 season in a neutral site game against the Lady Wildcats of Fort Valley State (1-2) on the campus of Columbus State University. An underwhelming second half would due the Lady 'Canes in by a score of 66-61 on Sunday afternoon.
Despite the 61 point output by Coach Britsky and company, it was an inconsistent offensive day for Georgia Southwestern. The Blue & Gold shot 36% from the field, registered only eleven assists to 29 turnovers and only received eight points of support from its bench.
GSW was led by senior Terra Branch who scored 18 points on 5-8 shooting from the field with two rebounds. Only one other Hurricane scored in double digits, which was senior Jessica Jones who tallied her first double-double of her season with ten points and eleven rebounds.
A neck and neck opening five minutes of the game would end when guard Terra Branch would make a free throw to give GSW the lead at the 15:40 mark, which the Lady 'Canes would hold onto for the rest of the half. The lead grew as big as eleven points before it went to nine points at the halftime break.
GSW's halftime lead was in part due to their ability to win the battle of the boards as they outrebounded FVSU by eleven in the first half. Their eight steals contributed to twelve first half turnovers by the Lady Wildcats who were also limited to 32.1% shooting by the Hurricane defense.
Branch would lead all scorers with nine first half points. The Athens native didn't miss a shot from the field or from the foul line. She was part of a starting five that accounted for 30 of the team's 36 points in the first half. Behind Branch were Jessica Bivins (eight points and four rebounds) and Tania Walters (seven points, four rebounds and three steals).
Fort Valley State began the second half with a 13-2 run in the first 3:17 to take the lead. The next seven minutes of action saw several lead changes and ties until FVSU's Jasmine Birdsong's free throw at the 10:03 mark gave Fort Valley the lead, which they would hold onto for over four minutes until Terra Branch would hit a three pointer to give Georgia Southwestern a 57-54 lead with 4:13 to play. But the final minutes of the game would go to the Lady Wildcats as they closed the game on a 12-4 run.
Sunday's loss ends GSW's program-best six game winning streak to open a season. Georgia Southwestern (6-1) returns to action on Wednesday, November 30th when they host Truett-McConnell College in the Storm Dome at 6:00 pm.