Lady Saints Outlast Cougars in Double Overtime
– In one of the most exciting games in recent history played
in Memorial Hall, the North Georgia women’s basketball team
came from behind to outlast Columbus State University 76-75 in
double overtime in front of over 3,000 people on Saturday afternoon
in Peach Belt Conference action.
The Lady Saints improve to 9-11 overall on the season and 4-7 in league action, while Columbus falls to 12-9 on the season and 6-5 in the PBC’s West Division.
Columbus State got off to a hot start with a 5-0 run to open the game, capped by a free throw from Phebe Smith just 67 second into the contest to give the Cougars a 5-0 lead. North Georgia answered back with a 9-2 run over the next five minutes, as Whitney Randolph hit a jumper at the 13:47 mark to give the Lady Saints the lead right back at 9-7.
A back forward first half was the story for there as the score was knotted seven different times in the opening period, while the lead changed hands six times. Columbus State had the final word in the first half, using a pair of jumpers in the final minutes to take a 34-30 lead at intermission.
In the second half, Columbus State opened up their biggest lead of the game with 11 minutes to play, using a jumper to take an eight-point lead at 48-40. North Georgia came right back however, going on a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to take their first lead of the second half at 50-48 with under eight minutes to play.
In the final minutes, the Lady Saints and Columbus State traded baskets as Whitney Randolph shined, hitting a pair of off-balance jumpers with under three minutes to play, the Lady Saints a five-point advantage with 1:38 left.
Columbus State found themselves with the ball down by a point in the final seconds and a missed layup with three seconds left that came off the rim to Smith who was fouled, sending the Columbus State star to the line with 1.7 remaining. Smith calmly sank the first, but the second bounced off the rim, finding the hands off Randolph as regulation ended with a 59-59 deadlock.
In overtime, the Cougars and Lady Saints traded baskets as the clock ran under one minute to play and Tiffany Marlow stepped back and hit a jumper with 58 seconds remaining, giving North Georgia a one-point edge at 66-65.
CSU would tie the game on the next possession, hitting one of two free throws, before pulling ahead with 18 seconds to go as Nakita Holt sprinted away fro the field and knocked down a fast break layup to give the Cougars the lead at 68-66.
North Georgia would run the clock down in overtime, and Randolph was fouled on a layup with just 1.7 to play, sending the senior to charity stripe who promptly knocked down both attempts, deadlocking the game once again at 68-68 as the Cougars last-second attempt was off the mark, sending over 3,000 people and both teams into a double-overtime classic.
In the second extra session, Columbus State jumped on top again, scoring four straight points to take a 72-68 advantage, but the Lady Saints would answer, scoring six of the game’s next eight points to tie the game 74-74 with two minutes to play.
After Columbus hit one of two free throws to take the lead, Janyce Ealey hit a layup to give the Lady Saints a 76-75 lead. Ealey would have a chance to extend the lead with eight seconds remaining, but missed both free throw attempts, giving the Cougars a chance for the win down by a point with three seconds left. Columbus State’s shot attempt at the buzzer was off the mark, sending North Georgia to a double overtime 76-75 victory over Columbus State.
In a battle of the top two scorers in the league, Whitney Randolph and Phebe Smith dueled and did not disappoint, both recording double-doubles in the contest. Randolph would outshine her counterpart in the long run, scoring 32 points and pulling down 18 rebounds, while going a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line.
Danielle Seeley scored a season-high 16 points for North Georgia while picking up four steals, while Marlow tallied nine points on 4-8 shooting from the field.
Holt paced Columbus State with 18 points, while Smith added 11 points, 17 rebounds, four steals, and Renee Jackson chipped in 10 points.
The game was won and lost at the free throw line as North Georgia, was 20-23 from the line for 87 percent, while Columbus State struggled and converted just 13-27 attempts for 48.1 percent.
North Georgia returns to action next Wednesday, hosting Francis Marion in another Peach Belt Conference matchup. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall.