by Brian DeCandia, sports information graduate assistant
AIKEN, S.C. – The Georgia College women's basketball team (21-6) did the unthinkable in running the No. 4 Lander University Bearcats (27-3) out of the USC Aiken Convocation Center Saturday afternoon, 71-62.
"We knew it was going to be a dogfight coming in," said head coach Maurice Smith. "We knew we would have to execute a well-played ball game in order to be successful. They are just so tough to guard; we took some risks as far as our matchups with not playing on some people and paying special attention to others."
The Bobcats will play in the Geico Championship Series Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Championship game tomorrow at 2 p.m. against the No. 12 USC Aiken Pacers.
Senior Chimere Jordan (Gray, Ga.) aided the Bobcats yet again with her stellar play. Jordan recorded her fifth double-double of the season, pouring in 28 points and grabbing 15 boards. She netted 24 of her total in the second half, as Jordan shot 11-of-22 (.500) from the field for the game and dished out six assists. Jordan's 28 put her at 573 on the season, moving up to third in single season scoring at Georgia College.
Jordan didn't do it alone, getting help from her senior counterpart Dominique Huffin (Tucker, Ga.). Huffin shot 6-of-12 from the field, but more impressively 5-of-10 from beyond the arc for 19 points.
"Today we played for the seniors," said guard Huffin. "Being down eight at halftime we knew we had to step up for our teammates and they responded as well by rallying around us."
The game started off in GC's favor when Huffin drained a three-ball to take the early lead. Unfortunately, things would get sloppy for the Bobcats as they turned over the lead with just under 15 minutes to play. The Bobcats would fight back and pull within one, but the Bearcats responded to open up the lead to eight just before the half.
The 'Cats came out on fire to start the second half, hitting nine of their first 10 shots and 17-of-27 (.630) overall. The lead flip-flopped back and forth, changing hands four times before Jordan nailed a three to go up 53-50 with 8:23 left. The Bobcats would not look back as they rallied together and held the lead through the final whistle.
The Bobcats shot 27-of-57 (.474) from the field, 7-of-22 (.318) from three and 10-of-12 (.833) from the charity stripe. The story of the afternoon was Lander only shooting 5-of-23 (.217) from three and 0-10 in the second half. Lander shot .337 from three on the year and averaging 7.4 threes per contest, good for No. 23 in the nation.
The defensive efforts of Abby Slocumb (Suwanee, Ga.) held PBC player of the year Shannon McKever to only 13 points, as the post player managed just eight shots on the game as a whole. Brittni Johnson was also in double-digits with 11. Slocumb reached the scoring column, putting up double her season average with eight points.
The Bobcats won the rebounding battle 40-32 but lost the turnover battle 14-11. This marks GC's first win against a ranked opponent this season.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, back-to-back winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.twitter.com/BobcatSports and www.facebook.com/gcbobcats for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.