The Columbus State Lady Cougars were better on offense than in their last outing, but it was the defense that excited coach Jonathan Norton.
The Lady Cougars held Georgia College to just 34 percent shooting (17-of-50) from the field in a 62-52 victory on Saturday afternoon at the Lumpkin Center in a battle of teams undefeated in Peach Belt Conference play.
"We shot the ball better, which obviously makes our life better, but I was really proud of our defensive effort," Norton said. "That team can really shoot the ball, and to hold them to 34 percent from the field was huge."
The Lady Cougars shot 40.4 percent against the Lady Bobcats. While not great, it is much improved over the less than 30 percent they shot against Georgia Southwestern on Thursday.
They also outshot the Lady Bobcats from beyond the 3-point line. CSU was 8 of 20 after shooting just 1 of 8 on Thursday night
The Lady Cougars switched to a perimeter attack after falling behind 7-4 early in the first quarter. Guard Britteny Tatum knocked down a pair of triples to give the Lady Cougars
a 10-7 lead, an advantage they would not relinquish the rest of the game.
"I've been working on my shot. They started packing it in inside, so we started shooting the ball from outside and knocking it down," said Tatum, who finished with nine points on 3-of-4- shooting on 3's.
Columbus State was whistled for 18 fouls in what developed into a physical contest against the Lady Bobcats. After appearing at the foul line for a whopping 30 shots on Thursday night, making 24 of them, the Lady Cougars were only 8 for 12 on free throws Saturday.
"We have new rules in the NCAA that are really supposed to clean up the women's game," Norton said. "I thought it got way too physical. We didn't adjust to that well. We got frustrated, and Georgia College thrives on that on both ends of the floor. They were the more aggressive team, and we suffered a little because we didn't get to the free-throw line as much as I thought we should."
Preseason all-conference guard and reigning PBC Player of the Week Michelle Mitchell came off the bench for the first time in her CSU career in Saturday's game but actually finished tied for third on the team with 27 minutes played.
She scored 17 points, a nice rebound game after scoring just two in a half of play Thursday night before being shut down to nurse a nagging right knee injury.
"It's still a little tight," Mitchell said. "I was just trying to get back in my routine and my groove."
"Our trainers did a great job of treating (Michelle) twice yesterday," said Norton. "She didn't do anything at practice and came in and did treatment again today. She wanted to go. I think she's still hurting; she might not admit it, but tomorrow will be a good day off for her."
The Lady Cougars (12-1, 6-0) will enjoy an off day Sunday before returning to practice Monday, with the addition of classes as the spring semester begins at CSU. Their next game comes Wednesday in Dahlonega against North Georgia. CSU remains tied for the Western Division lead with Clayton State. Georgia College is 13-2 and 5-1.
"We need this day off," said Norton. "We protected our home court against a division team who was undefeated playing really well, and we found a way to get it done. I'm really proud. Hopefully, we can re-energize and be ready for two more road games."
GEORGIA COLLEGE (13-2, 5-1 PBC)
Kadesha Gibbs 5-12 4-6 14; Mckenna Rushton 3-6 4-5 12; Lindsey Reed 3-10 1-1 8; Alyah McGriff 3-9 0-0 6; LaRice Walker 1-7 4-6 6; Jalyn Slaughter 1-3 2-2 4; Sydney Cleveland 1-2 0-0 2; Veronica Ryan 0-1 0-0 0; Christina Thomas 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-50 15-20 52.
COLUMBUS STATE (12-1, 6-0 PBC)
Michelle Mitchell 7-13 3-4 17; Britteny Tatum 3-7 0-0 9; Gabby Williams 2-8 4-6 9; Ashley Johnson 4-11 0-0 8; Brea Walker 2-5 0-0 6; Ashley Asouzu 2-7 1-2 5; Erin Morrow 1-1 0-0 3; Eryn Cochran 1-3 0-0 3; Tatiana Wayne 1-2 0-0 2; Alexys Woods 0-0 0-0 0; Kristian Carter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-57 8-12 62.
Georgia College 13 12 12 15--52
Columbus State 20 16 14 12--62
3-point goals--Georgia College 3-9 (Mckenna Rushton 2-4; Lindsey Reed 1-4; Veronica Ryan 0-1), Columbus State 8-20 (Britteny Tatum 3-4; Brea Walker 2-4; Gabby Williams 1-4; Erin Morrow 1-1; Eryn Cochran 1-3; Tatiana Wayne 0-1; Ashley Asouzu 0-2; Ashley Johnson 0-1). Fouled out--Georgia College-None, Columbus State-None. Rebounds--Georgia College 33 (Kadesha Gibbs 10), Columbus State 37 (Ashley Asouzu 7; Michelle Mitchell 7). Assists--Georgia College 9 (Christina Thomas 4), Columbus State 10 (Michelle Mitchell 3; Gabby Williams 3). Total fouls--Georgia College 15, Columbus State 18. Technical fouls--Georgia College-None, Columbus State-None. A-238