Columbus – The Columbus State women's basketball team went scoreless over the final 4:13 as they fell to North Georgia 65-62 Saturday afternoon in a Peach Belt Conference tilt.
CSU falls to 12-8 on the year and 7-4 in the PBC while the Lady Saints up their mark to 11-9 overall and 5-6 in league action.
Marina DeFoor hit her fifth three-pointer of the contest with 4:13 showing on the clock in the second half to give the Lady Cougars their last lead of the game, 62-60. Columbus State would miss their last seven shot attempts of the game and turned the ball over four times allowing North Georgia to rally for the win.
Giovanni Sims made one-of-two free throws to bring NGA to within one, 62-61 on their next offensive possession. The two sides would combine to miss the next eight shots before Amanda Rector scored on a back door layup to put them ahead by one with 50 seconds remaining.
Columbus State had a pair of looks at the basket on their next offensive possession but was unable to convert. CSU relied on their defense putting tremendous pressure on North Georgia but bailed out the visitors with just six seconds remaining on the shot clock. NGA again was only able to make one-of-two free throws making it a 64-62 contest with 13 seconds to go.
Coming out of a timeout, Dominique Gilbert found herself open on the baseline as the pass was incoming but the senior let the ball slip through her grasp giving the ball back to North Georgia.
Wanting to make things exciting, Stephanie Huffman was the third straight Lady Saint to go one-for-two at the charity stripe giving Columbus State one last opportunity. Shan Basley received the in-bound pass and raced up court putting a shot up just inside half court but the shot rattled off the rim to end the contest.
"We didn't play very smart," stated head coach Jonathan Norton. "We needed someone to step-up and say 'they are not going to score', but we struggled offensively and it carried over to the defensive side of the ball. We need to put this one behind us and prepare for a big conference game on Monday versus Georgia Southwestern."
In the first half, North Georgia took a seven point lead (31-24), the biggest either side would have in the contest with 3:42 showing on the clock. Columbus State rattled off eight straight points as Chati Bradford and DeFoor each drained a three-pointer and Gilbert added a jumper as the Lady Cougars regained the lead, 32-31 with 1:10 to go in the half.
North Georgia went into the half ahead 34-32 as Kari McCann made the final basket of the half.
Coming out of the break, CSU outscored NGA by a 12-6 margin to take a four point lead, 44-40 with 14:50 remaining. Six different Lady Cougars put up a pair of points during the spurt.
There would be four lead changes and three tied ball games over the next 10 minutes up until DeFoor gave CSU their final lead of the game with 4:13 showing on the clock.
Gilbert led Columbus State with 18 points while Defoor added a season best 15 points. Shan Basley was also in double figures adding 11. As a team, CSU shot 32.9% (24-for-73) from the field which included just a 27% (10-for-37) mark in the second half.
Jaymee Carnes, the nation's leading scorer, netted 24 points, two shy of her season average to pace North Georgia. She had a big helping hand from Stephanie Huffman who put up a career high 20 points. NGA had a decisive advantage at the free throw line going 19-for-27 (70.4%) while the Lady Cougars were 7-for-10.
After an off day, Columbus State is back in action as they travel to take on Georgia Southwestern in Americus. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.