AMERICUS, Ga. -- First-year head coach Justin Payne and the Georgia Southwestern women's basketball team opened up their schedule with a huge 89-35 victory over Birmingham Southern Monday evening. The Lady Hurricanes forced 29 turnovers as 17 of them accounted as steals while a total of four players scored in double-digit figures on opening night.
In Payne's first game coaching, he led GSW to the largest margin of victory (54 points) in the NCAA Division II era while also allowing the fewest points scored (35 points) in NCAA Division II era also. GSW (1-0) led for as many as 59 points at one moment during the fourth quarter to stamp Payne's first day out.
How It Happened: Three minutes into the game, newcomer Dominique Jeffery put the first points on the board for the GSW as that also marked her first score as a Lady Hurricane. Midway through the first quarter, the Panthers led, 6-4, and that would be last lead change of the game. Towells first points of the game came on a layup that gave GSW the lead as they continued to a 13-0 run to end the quarter up 20-6.
Madison Johnson opened the second quarter with one of her two three's on the night as GSW was not holding back. Towells ran up and down the court with back-to-back steals, scoring four of her 10 second quarter points that pushed the crowd into a frenzy. With 5:09 left in the half, a layup by Panthers Cassady Quintana pushed BSC in double-digit figures on the night. GSW forced nine turnovers alone in the second quarter as they took a 27-point led into halftime.
In the third quarter, the talented two-pack of freshmen were able to get some stats as they played in their first collegiate game. Karlie Jones scored the first points of her collegiate career as she dropped two free throws while also adding a block. K'Shouri Hodge snagged down three rebounds for the Lady Hurricanes. GSW defense stood tall in the third quarter, only allowing BSC to score five points.
The Lady Hurricanes shot 49.4 percent from the field, while draining 6 3-pointers. They also shot 53.8 percent from the free-throw line. The Panthers ended the day shooting 20.8 percent from the field but the led with a better free throw percentage, 59.1 percent, than GSW.
Who Stood Out: Towells led the way with 21 points, five steals and three assists followed by Jeffery, who finished with 14 points. Jamesha Samuel finished with 12 points and Madison Johnson ended with 10 points and four rebounds. Lex Chatman led GSW with a team-high seven rebounds to go with her eight points while Tamecia Blue chose to spread the love with six of GSW's 18 assists.
Quintana led the Panthers with nine points as Emilee Olsen and Derienne Black both finished the game with seven points.
Up Next: The Lady Hurricanes hit the road and will compete in the PBC/SIAC Challenge, Nov. 15-16 at Columbus State.