Columbus State Women’s Basketball Nearly Pulls Off Upset of No. 1 Lander
Greenwood, SC – The Columbus State women's basketball team went toe-to-toe with the top ranked team in the country before succumbing late in the game, 70-63 Thursday night in Horne Arena on the campus of Lander University. CSU drops to 10-7 on the year and 3-5 in Peach Belt action while Lander stays unbeaten at 20-0 and 10-0 in conference play.
After a critical defense stand the Lady Cougars had possession with an opportunity to break a 61-61 deadlock with less than two and a half minutes to go. Lander knocked the ball out of bounds with nine seconds left on the shot clock allowing CSU to regroup for an in-bound play. Unfortunately they were unable to get the ball in to play turning the ball over without a shot attempt.
The Lady Bearcats came down the court on their next offensive possession and again were struggling to get an open shot. Nardia Robbins took her first shot of the game as the shot clock was winding from way beyond the three-point line and got it to fall with 1:36 remaining in the contest, giving the hosts a 64-61 lead.
Columbus State had their next two shot attempts rattle in and out as they tried to cut into the deficit. Lander made four-of-six free throws in the final 26 seconds to secure the game.
Coming out of halftime knotted at 35 apiece, LU opened the second half with eight straight points in a minute and forty-eight second span giving them a 43-35 advantage.
The young, yet battle tested Lady Cougars responded over the next several minutes outscoring Lander 10-1 to regain the lead 45-44 with 14:52 remaining in the game. Tandria Milton scored five of the 10 points during the spurt while Dominique Gilbert add two and Marina DeFoor knocked down a three-pointer.
Each side would knock down a three-pointer on their next possession making it a 48-47 contest before an offensive drought ensued. CSU scored the next three points, all off of free throws, prior to Lander netting another bucket. Tasheba Butler broke a four minute scoreless streak for the Lady Bearcats, cutting the CSU lead to 51-49 with 10:44 to go in the contest.
Carrie Washington hit a jumper two minutes later capping off an impressive 20-8 that spanned just over 10 minutes. The run by the Lady Cougars gave them a 55-51 advantage with 8:35 to go in the game.
Lander answered back with their first of two 9-0 spurts to close out the game. Ciara Lyons scored four points and Shannon McKever added three during the two minute span.
Just like earlier in the half, CSU did not fold holding LU to just one point over the next four and a half minutes outscoring the hosts 6-1 knotting the game at 61-61 before the decisive 9-0 run by the Lady Bearcats.
Shannon McKever opened up the scoring in the game just 10 seconds into the contest before Lauren Matheney answered right back on CSU's first possession. Neither side would have a lead larger than four points through the first six and a half minutes of action before LU scored five straight points for a 20-13 lead at the 11:51 mark in the first half.
Baleigh Coley scored the first five points of a 9-2 CSU run allowing the visitors to tie the game up at 22-22 with 9:17 left before the break. Again, neither side could distance themselves over the remaining portion of the first half as the two sides headed into the lockers rooms tied at 35-35.
Milton and Asha Alexander were the only two Lady Cougars in double figures, putting in 15 points and 10 points, respectively. Alexander was one rebound shy of a double-double as she pulled down nine boards. Gilbert pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds while Matheney also hit double-digits in rebounds with 10. The forwards both had eight points apiece as well. Gilbert's consecutive double-double streak ends at six and stands at 10 total for the year. This was the first time all season the junior did not hit double figures in scoring.
The loss of starting point guard Nakita Holt was felt as CSU turned the ball over 22 times that lead to 27 Lander points. Columbus State dominated the glad out-rebounding LU 58-39. The Lady Cougars were 24-for-72 (33.3%) from the field including 5-for-19 (26.3%) from downtown. CSU got to the foul line 15 times knocking down 10 while Lander got to the charity stripe 27 times.
LU had four score in double figures led by Tasheba Butler and Ciarra Lyons' 15 points. Shannon McKever added 14 points while Jasmine Judge chipped in with 13 points. Butler also added a team high 12 rebounds while McKever grabbed nine boards. As a team, the Lady Bearcats went 25-for-63 (39.7%) from the floor including 6-for-16 (37.5%) from three-point range.
Columbus State returns to the hardwood on Saturday, January 29 when it travels to Augusta State. The Lady Jaguars stand at 6-11 on the year after dropping a 74-53 decision to Georgia Southwestern earlier this evening. Tip-off is schedule for 1:30 p.m.