COLUMBUS, Ga. – Kicking off postseason play, the sixth-ranked and top-seeded Columbus State University women’s basketball team knocked off USC Aiken 62-51 Saturday afternoon. The Peach Belt Conference quarterfinal game was played in the Lumpkin Center.
Alexis Carter went for 24 points and 16 rebounds, with 13 of the boards coming on the offensive end. The junior added six steals and three blocks. Tatiana Wayne was the only other Lady Cougar in double figures, adding 11 points.
Columbus State now moves on to the semifinals next Saturday, March 4, where they will meet Francis Marion. The game is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. at Lander University in Greenwood, S.C.
“We didn’t have our best effort today,” head coach Anita Howard said. “I thought our focus was there this week leading up to the game, but we just weren’t very sharp today.
“With that said, it’s always great when you win in the postseason and it was nice to get back at USC Aiken after they beat us earlier this season.”
It was a slow start to Saturday’s quarterfinal, as CSU needed just over two minutes to net the game’s first points. USC Aiken then scored the next six points to take its only lead of the day.
Wayne jumpstarted the Lady Cougars on the ensuing possession, grabbing an offensive rebound and drawing a foul. The free throws started a stretch of 13 consecutive points for CSU capped off by 3s from Wayne and Britteny Tatum.
A pair of free throws from Jasmine Herndon pushed the Columbus State (26-1) lead across double figures early in the second, where it would stay for much of the quarter. However, a 7-2 USCA spurt to close made it just an eight-point game (31-23) at halftime.
Nine straight points to open up the third quarter appeared to be the push CSU needed to put the game away. Carter scored eight of the nine for the Lady Cougars to open up a 17-point advantage.
USC Aiken (14-15) would not go away though. The Pacers fought back to within seven late in the third and trailed by just eight heading into the final 10 minutes.
Leading 54-46 with nine minutes remaining, Ashley Asouzu knocked down a 3-pointer from the left wing and the game would not get down inside 10 points the rest of the way.
Columbus State struggled from the field on the day, shooting just 30.4 percent (24-for-79). The Lady Cougars were 4-for-21 from 3 and made just 10-of-25 free throws.
CSU used strong defense to pick up the victory, holding USCA to 37.3 percent (19-of-51) overall and forcing 27 turnovers.