November 12, 2011

Off On the Right Foot

AMERICUS, Ga. – The season's journey of many miles began with one step last night for the Georgia Southwestern women's basketball team. On Saturday night, the Lady 'Canes got off to a good first step against Auburn-Montgomery (3-1). The Blue & Gold downed the visiting Warhawks 81-49 in their regular season opener.

The game was neck-and-neck for the first seven minutes. Beginning at the 13:05 mark, GSW pushed a one point advantage to a 17 point lead thanks to a 20-4 Hurricane run over a six minute span.  The Hurricanes would close out the half by bumping their lead even more. The Lady 'Canes went into the half with the 41-17 lead.

It was an impressive half for Coach Britsky and company as they doubled up their opposition several times over. They shot 44.1% in the half to just 22.2% for the Warhawks. The Lady 'Canes also forced 14 first half turnovers to their seven.

Leading the way for the GSW scoring attack was guard Terra Branch. The senior scored 13 points on 4-6 from the field, grabbed two rebounds and also had an assist and block. Newcomer Jessica Jones made an immediate impact in the opening half of her first ever game in a GSW uniform. The transfer from Mars Hill College had ten first half points with two rebounds.

The Auburn-Montgomery first half saw five players combine for their 17 first half points with Keisha Moore leading all Warhawks with five points.

Georgia Southwestern's 24 point first half lead was never in danger as GSW would never lead by less than 22 points throughout the game's final 20 minutes. The lead would hover in the upper 20's towards the end of the game before a Chelsea Brantley three-pointer would give the Hurricanes a final lead of 32 in the 81-49 win.

GSW shot 51.5%, which was better than in the first half, on their way to a 47.8% shooting percentage for the game. They also shot 46.7% from beyond the arc and a near-perfect 10-11 (90.9%) from the free throw line. The Lady 'Canes had eight different players register an assist to give them 19 total assists.

While Branch and Jones cooled off scoring for GSW, senior Jessica Bivins and junior Adrian Randall picked up the slack. Bivins had seven of her 16 total points in the second half and recorded two rebounds and two assists. Newcomer Adrian Randall, a transfer from Marshall University, came on strong in the second half despite being in foul trouble. The Brooklyn native had eleven points and five rebounds in the second half to finish with 13 points and nine rebounds for the game.

It was a balanced attack offensively for the Lady 'Canes with four players scoring in double figures. Jessica Bivins led all scorers with 16 points, and she also registered a game-high five assists and three rebounds. Fellow senior Terra Branch would finish with 15 points, and Jessica Jones tallied twelve points to go with her four rebounds and three assists.

No Warhawk players would score in the double-digits as LaKenya Drayton's eight points was the Auburn-Montgomery team high.

The Lady 'Canes will look to build a winning streak to open the season as they play at Valdosta State on Tuesday, November 15th at 6:00 p.m.