AIKEN, S.C. - Powered by four double-digit scorers, the Columbus State University women’s basketball team advanced to the semifinal round of the Marvin Vanover Peach Belt Conference Tournament with today’s 67-58 victory over Augusta State University.
Lady Cougar guard Ashley Stafford put in an outstanding line of 16 points 10 boards and six assists, aided by 14 points from Turelle Jones. Monica Sicka and KeAnna Vicks rounded out the double-digit scorers with 13 and 12 apiece.
Both teams struggled shooting in the first half, with Augusta State hitting just 22 percent (5-23) and Columbus State slightly better at 30 percent (10-33) from the floor. The Lady Jaguars made up for the deficiency with with free-throws, hitting 10-of-14 in the first stanza, while CSU covered with three pointers, canning six to ASU’s one. The threes won out in the first half, as the Lady Cougars held a 31-21 lead. The 21 points were the lowest total scored by ASU in a first half this season, the previous mark being 22 scored against this same CSU team.
CSU went stone cold in the beginning of the second frame, hitting just 3-of-17 from the floor over the first 11 minutes, surrendering the lead at the 12:40 mark on a pair of free-throws by Stacey Lampkin.
After some back-and-forth, with 3:16 left the Lady Cougars finally grabbed the lead for good with a pair of free throws from Jasmine Godwin. The CSU defense applied the defensive clamps, holding ASU scoreless for the final 3:29.
The Lady Jaguars were led by Porsha White with 15 points. The Jaguar bench contributed the team’s other two double-digit scorers in Brittany Jarrard with 11 and Nicole Mealing at 10.
ASU is now just 1-6 all-time against Columbus State in the PBC playoffs. The Lady Cougars improve to 17-11 on the season, as the No. 6-seed will advance to play No. 7-seeded Armstrong Atlantic State University tomorrow at 2 p.m. No. 3-seed Augusta State falls to 19-9 on the season.
Columbus State head coach Jay Sparks:
“We are fortunate to win. A tell tale sign was we won the game at the free throw line, and Augusta State lost the game at the free throw line.”
“We were just dead in the water for an extended period of time. KeAnna Vicks made a couple of big threes, and that was a spur that gave us the opportunity to take off from there. You need to have good things happen, and that was a good two huge plays for us.”
“We had to contest shots and the attack the boards. When the ball fell in our hands, they had to foul.”
Sophomore guard Ashley Stafford:
“Coach told us we were going to win the game on the defensive end and to rebound the ball on the defensive end. We did a better job rebounding on the defensive end, and we knew we had to pick it up on defense in order to win.”
Augusta State head coach Greg Wilson:
“I was real disappointed in how we came out. They (Columbus State) did nothing that we didn’t expect. The way Columbus plays, they are very physical, they put their hands on you and that took us right out of our offense.”
“I was pleased with the way we came back and made it a game. I know we had a chance to win it, and we live to fight another day. I’m please with where the team has come to this point, but we are disappointed today, big time.”
“We didn’t let their level of physicality bother us as much in the second half. When you play in this league, we know that we can lose just as easy to No. 10 as we can No. 2 or No. 1, it doesn’t matter. It’s not a bitter pill to swallow. Anything is possible, but I expected to win.”
Senior guard Deo Ngulela:
“The way we practice is the way we are going to play. We didn’t practice well this week, and that’s the resolve – we didn’t play well. It’s taking us a little bit of time to figure it out.”
Sophomore forward Porsha White:
“A loss is a loss, and it’s going to hurt either way. To know we can bounce back and still go to nationals gives us hope and we can get back in the gym and get it right.”