AMERICUS - Shanedra Lockett carried the load in the second half Sunday afternoon as the Georgia Southwestern women's basketball team pulled away from Fort Valley State for an 85-67 victory in the final game of the Peach Belt Conference/Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Challenge. The junior from Roberta, Ga., accounted for half of the Lady Hurricanes field goals over the final 20 minutes.
Lockett connected on 5 of 9 attempts (55.6 percent) in the second half while her teammates collectively hit on 5 of 25 from the floor (20.0 percent). Lockett finished with a game-high 21 points.
The Lady Hurricanes improve to 4-2 this season while Fort Valley State falls to 1-5. The win is GSW's first against the Lady Wildcats since joining the NCAA in 2006-07.
GSW jumped out to a 7-0 lead on Sunday, but the Lady Wildcats were quick to close the gap. FVSU pulled within 9-7 at the 16:30 mark of the first half and eventually took the lead, 17-14, on a Katice Williams 3-pointer which was part of a run where GSW was outscored 16-1. Briana Shepherd capped the rally with a jumper that gave FVSU its largest lead of the afternoon, 23-15, with 10:49 until the break.
That's when momentum shifted to GSW's favor. The Lady Hurricanes wiped out the deficit with a 10-2 run and went back-and-forth with FVSU over the closing minutes of the opening period until Shaniece Sheffield drained a 3-pointer to close out the scoring in the half and send GSW into the break with a 44-39 lead.
Back-to-back buckets from FVSU after Tiara Thompson opened the second half with a layup for GSW pulled the visitors within three points, 46-43. That's as close as the Lady Wildcats would get the rest of the way.
A 12-2 run by Southwestern that extended over a five minute span starting at the 8:16 mark provided some breathing room down the stretch.
GSW opened its lead to 20 points with a minute to play when Shatoria Hudson connected on a pair of free throws.
Southwestern had five players score in double figures. Thompson made 6 of 10 shots en route to her 15 points. Sheffield added 12 and Hudson and Sierra Barrino-Kennedy chipped in 10 points apiece. Thompson, Hudson and Danyelle Jones tied for the team lead as each pulled down six rebounds.
FVSU had one player score in double figures. Davina High led the Lady Wildcats with 14 points. High and Shepherd grabbed nine boards apiece.
The Lady Hurricanes needed nine fewer shot attempts to get to their 85 points as FVSU shot 36.6 percent from the field (26 of 71) while GSW connected on 26 of 62 to finish at 41.9 percent for the game.
The Lady Hurricanes forced FVSU into four more turnovers (28-24) and held the advantage on the glass, outrebounding FVSU 49-45. Both teams relied heavily on points off the bench. The Lady Wildcats reserves scored 41 while non-starters for GSW accounted for 37 points.
Southwestern returns to the hardwood on Saturday afternoon to open PBC play against Georgia College at 1:30 p.m. in the Storm Dome.