Albany Tech women's basketball coach Kenneth Williams lamented his team's late collapse Wednesday night against West Georgia Tech that ended in the Lady Titans' first defeat of the season. ATC, however, is still 8-1 overall and off to its best start in program history.
LAGRANGE — The Albany Tech women’s basketball team knows how the saying goes — “All good things must come to an end” — they just didn’t want to believe it.
But Wednesday it happened as the Lady Titans’ best start in program history ended with their first loss of the season, 71-66, to West Georgia Tech.
To make matters worse, ATC led by double digits with less than three minutes to play before turnovers did the team in.
“We led by 10, then had something like four or five turnovers in a row,” said Lady Titans coach Kenneth Williams, whose team is still an impressive 8-1, including a perfect 3-0 in Region XVII play because Wednesday’s game was a non-region contest. “We just didn’t play well when it counted. Hopefully, this will be a wake-up call for us.”
Albany Tech also appeared to be on the wrong end of some questionable officiating — West Georgia Tech went to the foul line 41 times, while ATC shot just 15 free throws.
“That’s a pretty big discrepancy,” Williams said. “Still, that’s not an excuse. We fell apart at the end.”
Shakima Wiggins led ATC with 22 points, while the Lady Titans’ leading scorer Bianca Fennessee — who was double-teamed all night — still wound up with a double-double of 13 points and 17 rebounds.
“It was a tough loss, but we’ll bounce back,” Williams said. “We’re a good team.”
The Lady Titans will play again Saturday when they travel with the men’s team to take Lawson State (Ala.) in a doubleheader.
CLAYTON STATE WOMEN, MEN HAND GSW PAIR OF TOUGH PBC LOSSES:
MORROW — After an amazing and historic start to the 2011-12 season, the Georgia Southwestern women’s basketball team faced its most formidable challenge in conference play Wednesday night: the defending national champion Lady Lakers of Clayton State. The No. 5 nationally ranked Lady Lakers (9-1, 1-0 Peach Belt Conference) weathered an early Blue & Gold storm in the first half and a GSW counter punch in the second half before winning, 66-62.
GSW gave Clayton State all they could handle during the opening 20 minutes, then the Lady Hurricanes lost a six-point halftime lead after intermission, only to recover in the second half by erasing a 14-point Lakers lead. The Lady Hurricanes would tie the game with a minute remaining before losing the free-throw battle at the end.
Georgia Southwestern was led by Tania Walters. The senior guard registered nine points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Fellow senior Terra Branch would lead all Lady Hurricanes scorers with 13 points. Forwards Jessica Jones and Adrian Randall both recorded near double-doubles as they tallied 10 points and eight rebounds, and 12 points and seven rebounds, respectively.
The tough loss dropped the Lady Hurricanes’ record to 8-2 overall and 1-1 in PBC play. The game was their last of 2011 as GSW won’t play again until the new year when it hosts Coastal Georgia on Jan. 4.
HURRICANES STUNNED BY CLAYTON STATE, FALL TO 0-2 IN PBC PLAY: The No. 17 nationally ranked GSW men were looking to rebound from losing their PBC opener to Montevallo earlier this month, but wound up falling to Clayton State (7-1, 1-0 PBC), 85-84, in a double overtime heartbreaker.
Evan Mobley led all scorers with 26 points, which included numerous clutch 3-pointers and lay-ups in both overtimes. The senior from Savannah also tallied six rebounds and three assists, while Phillip Brown would post 21 points, 19 rebounds and two blocks in the loss.
Clayton State would ride hot 3-point shooting to a 36-28 halftime lead, the stretched it to 13 after intermission.
But GSW stormed back.
Brown, the reigning PBC Player of the Year, and Colin Slotter, the reigning PBC Freshman of the Year, rallied GSW and cut the Clayton State lead to two points before eventually forcing overtime.
The back-and-forth pace of play would continue in the second overtime as Anthony Salter answered an Evan Mobley lay-up with one of his own with 2.2 seconds left to give the Lakers a one-point lead. Mobley then tossed a desperation half-court shot that missed right as time expired.
The loss puts the Hurricanes’ record at 6-2 overall and 0-2 in PBC play just one season after winning it won the West Division. GSW next faces Clearwater Christian on Friday at noon at home.