Columbus – Looking to become the first women's team to win back-to-back conference tournament championships in six years, the fifth-ranked Columbus State University women's basketball team moved on with a 66-53 win over GRU Augusta in the Peach Belt Conference tournament quarterfinals on Sunday. The game was played in the Lumpkin Center.
With the victory, the Lady Cougars will now take on USC Aiken on Saturday, March 7 at 1:00 p.m. The game will be played in the English E. Jones Center in Pembroke, N.C.
Michelle Mitchell led all scorers with 19 points on the game. The junior also pulled down a game-high and career-high 16 rebounds. Carrie Washington finished with a double-double as well with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
"I thought our defense was the reason we were able to win this game," CSU head coach Jonathan Norton said. "One of our goals was to hold them to 50 points and we were close.
"It's tournament time and you just want to survive and advance."
Columbus State (28-1) scored the game's first six points, but the scoring was hard to come by as it was just a 10-6 game after nine minutes.
Brea Walker came in off the CSU bench and buried a three on her first possession to spark the Lady Cougar offense. Walker connected again nearly 90 seconds later, but GRU Augusta (9-18) fought back to within two (19-17) with five minutes to play in the first half.
From there, it was Mitchell and the Lady Cougar bench that turned on the jets. Mitchell cleaned up a miss to put CSU up by for and start an 18-4 run to end the first half.
Erin Morrow drained a three from the left wing and fellow freshman Eryn Cochran followed with back-to-back threes to force a GRU timeout with the Lady Cougars up 30-17. Mitchell scored five straight points after the timeout to complete the 16-0 stretch and Morrow hit one more time before the half to give CSU a 37-21 advantage at halftime.
With CSU in full command up 16 with 12 minutes to go, it was the GRU reserves' turn to contribute. Sabrina Montgomery and Tavia Sykes scored 10 of the next 12 points for the Jaguars, while CSU went cold from the field.
When the Georgia Regents run was done, the Jaguars were back within four (52-48) with just under five minutes still to play.
CSU steadied the ship though as the Lady Cougars outscored GRU 14-5 the rest of the way.
Columbus State struggled to 23-of-68 (33.8 percent) shooting on the day and made just 15-of-24 (62.5 percent) from the free throw line. The Lady Cougars hit 5-of-18 (27.8 percent) from three, with all five makes coming from players off the bench.
GRU was held to 31.6 percent (18-of-57) from the field and hit just 2-of-13 (15.4 percent) three-point attempts.