ALBANY -- Ophelia McMath ... enough said.
That one name can sum up South Georgia Tech's 56-45 Region XVII victory against Darton College on Wednesday, as McMath doubled her season's output with a game-high 34 points and topped that off with a key steal late to put to nix a comeback by the Lady Cavaliers.
"She is it (and without her we do not win 10 games this year)," Lady
Jets coach Brandan Harrell said of McMath. "That's a lot of pressure to put on a player --- it's not fair."
He has a point.
In the first half, McMath scored 11 of the Lady Jets' first 13 points and
finished the half with 17 of their 22 points as Tech built a 22-12 lead.
She scored half of her team's points in the second half and had a key steal and hit a drive with 1:59 left to give Tech a 49-44 lead.
Darton then mounted a comeback and actually led, 40-39, on a turnaround jumper by Jomanda Smalls with 5:21 remaining in the game, but McMath led the Lady Jets to a game-winning 16-5 run.
"We just believed we could play with them," Darton coach Laura
Blackwell said of the Lady Jets, who came into the game ranked No. 12 in the nation, moving up a spot from No. 13 earlier that day in the latest NJCAA poll. "We played so poorly in the first half and we were only down by 10, and that's nothing in junior college ball."
Christina Brown led Darton with 12 points and D'Arcy Williams and Amber McKenzie combined for 13 points.
South Georgia Tech (19-2 overall, 6-1 in the Region XVII) has won two in a row since losing to Georgia Perimeter (No. 1 in the region) two weeks ago when Perimeter pressured tech's guards.
Darton (13-8 and 4-2 in the Region XVII) used a similar strategy as its guards pressured the Lady Jets backcourt into timely turnovers that gave Darton momentum, especially in the second half.
"I think the word is out that if you pressure our guards then we will
choke," Harrell said. "And that's exactly what happened. The bottom line is if Ophelia is not able to score from a lot of different spots then we lose by 20."
The Lady Jets next travel to Chattahoochee Technical College on Friday, while the Lady Cavs (who remain third in the Region XVII) will look to bounce back when they travel to Andrew College on the same day.