CLINTON, S.C. – Georgia Southern’s Amira Atwater stole a late inbound pass and sank the game winning layup with five seconds remaining as the Eagles escaped with a 69-68 win over Presbyterian College on Wednesday night at the Templeton Center. The Blue Hose sank a program-best 16 three-pointers and were led by freshman Shamani Stafford’s 21 points and PC single-game record seven threes. Georgia Southern’s Alexis Brown led all scorers with 22 points.
How It Happened
The teams traded baskets for the first few possessions, with Georgia Southern taking a one-point lead, 6-5, on a Dias-Allen layup with 7:53 on the clock. Presbyterian College then went on an 8-0 run fueled by back-to-back threes from Kacie Hall and a layup from Salina Virola, to take a seven-point lead, 13-6, with 5:25 remaining in the first quarter.
After a layup from Brown that made the score 13-8, Riley Hemm sank back-to-back threes to give PC an 11-point lead at 19-8 with 2:17 left in the quarter. Stafford later repeated the feat, sinking a pair of threes and extending PC’s lead to 14 points, 28-14, with 0:36 on the clock.
The Blue Hose shot 76.9 % in the first quarter and the 28 points scored was a season high.
The hot hands continued into the second quarter, as Hall and Stafford each sank their third threes of the game and gave PC’s its largest lead of the game, 16 points, at 34-18 and 8:11 left before the half.
Georgia Southern chipped away, ending the half on a 10-3 run. The Eagles’ Tatum Barber scored three layups over the final 2:36, including in the final seconds of the half, to cut the lead down to seven points, 40-33, at halftime.
Hall sank her fourth and fifth threes of the game to open the second half, restoring PC’s double-digit lead at 46-36 with 8:25 left in the third quarter. However, the momentum swung to the visitors after an Ericka Blackwell-Boyden layup made it 48-37 with 6:16 on the clock. Georgia Southern scored the next 12 points to take a 49-48 lead with 1:53 left in the third quarter. It was their first lead since the first three minutes of the game.
Bria Gibbs scored a contested layup to give PC a momentary lead at 50-49, but Jordan Strange sank a three as time expired to give the Eagles a 52-50 lead headed into the fourth quarter.
Virola tied the game at 52-52 with a pair of free throws at 8:15. After a layup from Dias-Allen, the Blue Hose replied with a 6-0 run consisting of a three from Stafford and a three-point play in the paint from Gibbs to take a 58-54 lead with 6:35 remaining.
Stafford’s sixth and seventh threes of the game were clutch baskets that kept the visitors at bay briefly. The second set a program record and gave PC a 66-61 lead with 2:16 remaining.
Georgia Southern’s Nakol Franks drained a three, her only basket of the night, to cut the lead to just two points, 66-64, with under two minutes to play.
Hall sank a pair of free throws with 1:18 left to give PC a two-possession lead at 68-64.
As she did all game, Georgia Southern’s Brown sank an open three to cut the lead down to one, 68-67, with 1:04 remaining.
An untimely turnover by the Eagles gave PC the ball back with 18.6 seconds on the clock. After a quick foul, Georgia Southern’s Atwater stole the inbound pass and sank the game-winning layup with five seconds remaining to steal the victory.
For The Record
Presbyterian College falls to 1-6 overall this season, while Georgia Southern improves to 3-5 overall.
By The Numbers
PC opened the game 11-16 (.688) from three and scored a season-high 40 points in the first half. They also scored a season-high 28 points on 7-9 (.778) shooting from behind the arc in the first quarter.
The last time PC scored 28 points in a quarter was in the fourth quarter against Furman on December 30, 2017. PC won that game in overtime, 76-75.
The team made a program-best 16 three pointers, besting the old mark of 14 versus Gardner-Webb last season (1/16/18).
Shamani Stafford shot 7-10 (.700) from three to set a program record with seven made threes. The previous mark of six was achieved on eight occasions by four individuals. The most recent player to sink six threes in a game was Taylor Petty on December 16, 2015.
Kacie Hall opened the game a perfect 5-5 from three and tied her collegiate-best mark of five threes in a game (achieved three times). The junior has 112 career threes and is just 5 shy of the program’s all-time top-10.
Hall also tied her season best with six assists.
Presbyterian ended the game with a 29-28 advantage on rebounds.
Georgia Southern held a 28-5 advantage in points off turnovers.
Presbyterian College travels to play Davidson on December 18 at 11:00 am. The Blue Hose hold a 2-0 series lead over the Wildcats, but the teams haven’t met since February 14, 1985.