The Columbus State women's basketball team got some much needed revenge on Young Harris Saturday afternoon. The Lady Cougars avenged a Jan. 24 road loss to the Lady Mountain Lions with a 68-49 victory at the Lumpkin Center.
The game started slow for the Lady Cougars (19-4, 13-3 Peach Belt Conference), however, as they allowed the Lady Mountain Lions (9-14, 4-12 PBC) to hang around and actually ended the first quarter tied at 12.
CSU head coach Jonathan Norton attributed the slow start to fatigue after a long return trip from the team's win at Montevallo on Wednesday night.
"There was a bad car wreck on I-65 and we didn't get home until 5 a.m. Thursday morning," said Norton. "Thursday was a wash, so we only had Friday to prepare. I felt like our legs weren't under us."
The offense awoke for the Lady Cougars after a stagnant first quarter. CSU settled down in the next two quarters, outscoring Young Harris 37-16 during that stretch. They opened the third quarter on a 12-0 run to take a game high 24-point lead with 3:36 left.
Norton was pleased with the much improved offensive effort after the opening period.
"I thought our offensive ball movement and people movement were much better," said Norton. We were confident. We kept the floor spaced. We made the extra pass, which created a wide open shot and also provided opportunities for us to go get offensive rebounds."
The big lead the Lady Cougars built also gave Norton a chance to empty his bench and rest many of his starters in the second half.
"It's good to get those minutes down for the starters," Norton said. "The more we can keep their legs fresh, the better."
Guard Erin Morrow was one of the Lady Cougars who took advantage of the extra minutes off the bench, scoring a career high 13 points in the game. She was one of four CSU players who finished in double figures, led by Ashley Asouzu and Michelle Mitchell with 14. Britteny Tatum scored 11 points.
"It was fun to get out there and play hard," said Morrow. "I know I've been shooting a little here and there and I've been waiting for them to finally fall. Today, I finally hit them. There was good ball movement as a team as well."
"Morrow gave us a big spark off the bench," said Norton. "She's been coming to the gym and working extra because she had been in a slump. I'm proud for her. The work paid off.
"It was great to get more people minutes who performed well and get their confidence up."
The 68-49 final was a stark contrast to the Lady Cougars' 55-51 loss at Young Harris last month, arguably the worst loss of the season for the team. After the defeat, the Lady Cougars circled Saturday's game with the Lady Mountain Lions as a chance to redeem themselves.
"We felt it was an embarrassing loss," said Norton. "No one goes into the season expecting to go undefeated, but it was a bad loss to a team with a losing record. Nothing against Young Harris, I respect their program, but they haven't had a good year, so that's the one blemish on our record."
"It felt good to get some revenge on them," said Morrow. "We had some good team chemistry out there this time, were a little less sloppy, and had a little less turnovers."
The Lady Cougars have three PBC games remaining and remain tied atop the PBC Western Division with Clayton State, who also moved to 13-3 Saturday after a win at Montevallo. The Lady Cougars close their regular season schedule with a game at Clayton State on Feb. 24.
"Everything's big from now on," said Morrow. "We can't afford a loss if we want to win the Peach Belt, which has been our goal from the start of the season."
"We want to keep the (home winning) streak alive," said Norton. "We have three games left, and we expect to have to win all three to win the conference championship."
YOUNG HARRIS (9-14, 4-12 PBC)
Jenny Vernet 6-12 6-7 18; Meredith Tarver 4-15 0-0 8; Briana Bell 3-8 0-0 8; Meghan McQuade 1-1 2-2 5; Jasmine Knight 2-4 0-0 4; Sara Jorgensen 1-6 2-2 4; Rachel Harrell 1-5 0-0 2; Jada Williams 0-1 0-0 0; Sarah Garner 0-1 0-00; Keta Robinette 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-54 10-11 49.
COLUMBUS STATE (19-4, 13-3 PBC)
Michelle Mitchell 7-12 0-0 14; Ashley Asouzu 6-9 2-2 14; Erin Morrow 5-11 0-0 13; Britteny Tatum 4-11 0-0 11; Tatiana Wayne 4-5 1-1 9; Gabby Williams 3-8 0-0 6; Alexys Woods 0-1 1-2 1; Ashley Johnson 0-4 0-0 0; Brea Walker 0-5 0-0 0; Kristian Carter 0-0 0-0 0; Eryn Cochran 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 29-68 4-5 68.
Young Harris 12 8 8 21—49
Columbus State 12 20 17 19—68
3-point goals--Young Harris 3-15 (Briana Bell 2-5; Meghan McQuade 1-1; Jasmine Knight 0-1; Rachel Harrell 0-3; Sarah Garner 0-1; Keta Robinette 0-1; Meredith Tarver 0-3), Columbus State 6-19 (Britteny Tatum 3-5; Erin Morrow 3-6; Gabby Williams 0-3; Brea Walker 0-3; Eryn Cochran 0-2). Fouled out--Young Harris-None, Columbus State-None. Rebounds--Young Harris 38 (Meredith Tarver 9), Columbus State 39 (Ashley Asouzu 9). Assists--Young Harris 6 (Jada Williams 2; Briana Bell 2), Columbus State 12 (Gabby Williams 4). Total fouls--Young Harris 12, Columbus State 17. Technical fouls--Young Harris-None, Columbus State-None. A-335