by Mark Jagord, sports information assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The No. 24 Georgia College women's basketball team (12-3, 5-3 PBC) responded to its first multiple-game losing streak this season with a convincing 78-59 win over GRU Augusta (8-7, 4-4 PBC) Monday night at the Centennial Center. Junior Shanteona Keys (Roswell, Ga.) scored a career-high 33 points in helping Bobcats' head coach Maurice Smith earn his 50th career victory.
"It was a hard fought game," said Smith, who has already matched his win total from last season at 12. "I thought the first half went back and forth and we really struggled to guard as GRU did a great job in their half-court offense. I was proud to see our young ladies execute defensively in the second half to secure the win."
Keys shot 88 percent from beyond the arc, going 7-of-8 for 21 of her 33 points and giving her 121 career threes. She is now four threes away from breaking into the Georgia College all-time top-10 in threes made and is also just seven points shy of tying Allison Barry for No. 13 on the Bobcats' all-time scoring list at 1,096. Keys co-led the team in boards with eight, while going 13-of-17 from the floor on her best night as a Bobcat.
Junior Enisha Donley (Loganville, Ga.) scored 22 points for the second-consecutive game and also had eight boards while adding three assists. Senior Brandi McKinney (Cincinnati) had an impressive outing with 17 points, seven boards, and going a perfect 8-for-8 from the charity stripe. McKinney registered career-highs in assists with eight, and steals with six.
Georgia College trailed in the early going, but Keys' first three of the night would tie the game at 9 and start a 12-point run that would give the Bobcats the lead for the rest of the contest. GRU's Tavia Sykes' bucket in the final minute before the intermission brought the Jaguars within three at 37-34.
The second half went back and forth with GRU coming within two points of tying the game three separate times. With just under eight minutes left and with a two-point lead, Keys sank three consecutive threes to sway the game in the Bobcats' favor.
The Bobcats shot 47 percent from the floor going 29-of-62, and 50 percent from three-point land hitting 10-of-20. GRU Augusta shot 35 percent from the floor on 19-of-55, and 25 percent from beyond the arc, hitting 4-of-16.
The Jaguars were led by Jemimah Asby and Becky Newhouse with 15 and 13 points, respectively, with the latter adding a game-high nine boards.
The Bobcats' next matchup will be against the USC Aiken on Wednesday, Jan. 22 for a Peach Belt Conference (PBC) tilt starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Centennial Center.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 11 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 @GCBobcats on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit GCBobcats.PhotoReflect.com to purchase photo prints from home athletic contests.