Willoughby Drains Five Treys, Women's Hoops Defeated by GC 68-61December 16, 2013
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – Despite forcing 21 turnovers, Anderson University women’s basketball was unable to match the Georgia College attack as the Trojans closed out their 2013 slate with a 68-61 setback in non-conference action Monday evening at the Centennial Center.
AU ends December with a 1-2 record for its three regular season matchups of the month, as it begins the heart of South Atlantic Conference after the first of the year. Overall, the Trojans drop to 7-4 on the season as Georgia College remains unbeaten on the year with a perfect 7-0 record.
The Bobcats, who were receiving votes in the latest USA TODAY Coaches’ Poll, finished the contest 23-for-51 (45.1 percent) from the field, including a 14-for-26 (53.8 percent) effort in the opening period. Leading the way for the Bobcats was senior Thresia Elskamp as she recorded her second double-double in as many games, notching 11 points and 13 rebounds. Two other Bobcats found themselves in double figures as the junior duo of Shanteona Keys and Enisha Donley finished with matching totals of 15 points.
“This was a tough loss against a very well-coached Georgia College team,” head coach Jimmy Garrity said. “They did all the little things that they needed to do to win the game. I thought our effort was there, but we just didn’t do enough to get over the hump.”
For Anderson, redshirt junior Emily Willoughby finished 6-for-14 (42.9 percent) from the field and posted a game-high 17 points, setting a new season-high. Willoughby connected on five 3-pointers in 25 minutes as she came off the bench after the first media timeout of the game.
Freshman Nakia Young, who returned to action after missing two contests for an injury, was perfect from the floor, going 3-for-3 from the field and dropping in two treys for 12 points. The freshman shattered her original season-high of seven points which she set in the 85-81 overtime win over Lander. Sophomore forward Katie Davis rounded out AU’s double digit scoring with 10 points to go along with four rebounds.
The Bobcats started the contest quickly, jumping out to an 11-4 run capped off by back-to-back fast break lay-ups by Elskamp and Brandi McKinney, the team’s leading scorer. Despite the early deficit, Anderson mounted a quick comeback, eventually taking a lead at the 19-18 mark when Young put in a pair of free throws.
As the teams continued to trade buckets for the remainder of the period, GC would take the lead into halftime at 34-32. Willoughby was the lone player to have double figures in the first 20 minutes.
Facing the slim deficit, GC would start to pull away in the second half headlined by a 14-4 run by the Bobcats to take a 59-45 lead with eight minutes left. Headlining the run was a pair of Bobcat 3-pointers by Elskamp and Kayla Upchurch, who dropped in her only points of the evening.
McKinney, who failed to reach her season average of just above 16 points, posted a game-high five steals, while teammate Elskamp recorded four steals to go along with her team-high five assists.
The Trojans would cut the GC lead to seven in the final two minutes, but was unable to get any closer, eventually falling 68-61.
Defensively, AU forced 21 turnovers, marking the fifth time this season the Trojan defense has forced over 20 turnovers. Davis led the defensive attack with three steals and four blocks.
“I give Georgia College credit for their toughness and not letting us do what we wanted to do,” Garrity said. “I was happy to see Nikki (Nakia) Young have such a good game after being out last week and we will use this break to reenergize ourselves and come back focused to make a run in conference play.”
Anderson now faces a long layoff before beginning its stretch of South Atlantic Conference games with Catawba on Jan. 4. Tip-off from Salisbury is set for 2 p.m