January 28, 2012

Career Night For Branch Equals Basketball History

AMERICUS, Ga. - After splitting their two games during last weekend's roadtrip, the Georgia Southwestern Lady Hurricanes were looking to enjoy some home cooking as they hosted the Francis Marion Lady Patriots 6-11 (2-8 PBC) inside the Storm Dome. Senior guard Terra Branch and junior forward Adrian Randall ensured the team took home the 64-60 victory over FMU on Saturday afternoon. The victory was even more sweet for the Lady 'Canes as it marked the first time Georgia Southwestern Women's Basketball have ever beaten the Lady Patriots.

Branch, the Athens native, was the consistent spark that got the offense going. By game's end she would score a career-high 30 points on an efficent 9-14 shooting from the field as well as four rebounds. Her new career high was also the highest scoring output by a Lady Hurricane this season. Her four made three-pointers and eight made free throws both tied career highs for Branch.

Supporting Branch in her career night was forward Adrian Randall. Randall finished the night as GSW's only other double-digit scorer with 16 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and three steals. In addition to Randall, senior point guard Tania Walters was also able to help the GSW cause despite a slow one of six shooting night. Her seven assists were a game high, and she also recorded four rebounds and three steals.

Like the Blue & Gold, Francis Marion was led by two players in double digit scoring. The hot-shooting guard, Brittany Christian, led all Lady Patriot scorers with 19 points, which included five made shots from beyond the arc. She was supported by forward T.T. Belcher's 16 points and seven rebounds.

Both teams would shoot 39.6% on 21-53 shooting for the game. The two teams were also neck-and-neck in rebounds (GSW out-rebounded FMU 35-33) and in turnovers (FMU's 29 turnovers to GSW's 27 turnovers). While Francis Marion scored two more points than GSW from three-point range, GSW's 17-21 (81.0%) shooting from the foul line would prove to tilt the game in the Hurricane's favor.

After the game's initial ten minutes, the two teams would be tied at 14. This was due in large part to both teams averaging more than a turnover per minute pace to open the game. A 15-6 GSW run to end the half gave the Lady Hurricanes a 29-20 lead going into halftime.

Instead of packing it in, the Lady Patriots did quite the opposite. They played their best basketball to open to the second half. FMU opened the final twenty minutes of the game by scoring 14 straight points. When T.T. Belcher made a lay-in with 15:01 left to play in the game, FMU had taken a 34-29 lead.

After being put on full-tilt by the blitzkrieg-esk run by the visitors, Coach Britsky and company would be able to regroup and retake the game. They would regain the lead four minutes later courtesy of Chelsea Brantley to Terra Branch three point play combination. The GSW lead would hover around four and six points for much of the rest of the half. Four points would prove to be the final margin as the GSW Lady Hurricanes would take the game by a score of 64-60

Saturday's victory evens the Blue & Gold's PBC record at four wins and four losses, and it pushes their record to 12-5 overall this season. The whirlwind pace of PBC Conference play doesn't let up for GSW. The Lady Hurricanes will play host to the UNC Pembroke Lady Braves for their second game in 24 hours on Sunday afternoon at 1:30. Sunday afternoon's game will be a pair of special promotion for GSW fans.

Not only is it "Sundaes on Sunday sponsored by the Americus-Sumter Chamber of Commerece", but the "Camo Out" for the home team. This means that first 150 fans to head to find Assistant Athletic Director Keith Michlig in the concourse in the immediate area outside the arena between the women's and men's games will get a free sundae. The "Camo Out" is GSW's own take on popular "White Out" or "Black Out" games commonly found throughout college athletics. Fans of the Blue & Gold are encouraged to wear their camouflage and or safety orange to help "fight with the canes" as they continue to fight their way through the Peach Belt Conference.