No. 9 West GA Tech earns Statement win crushing unbeaten Southern Union 81-59

No. 9 West GA Tech earns Statement win crushing unbeaten Southern Union 81-59

CARROLLTON, Georgia -- The West Georgia Tech women's basketball team was hungry for a statement win. They got it Wednesday evening in front of an overflow crowd.

West Georgia Tech, ranked No. 9 in the latest NJCAA D-III rankings, which were released two hours before tipoff, throttled previously unbeaten Southern Union State Community College 81-59, in women's basketball action Wednesday in Carrollton.

What makes the win even more impressive is the fact that the Golden Knights are an NJCAA D-III program while Southern Union competes on the NJCAA D-I level.

"I'm so proud of every one of those girls," said fourth-year West Georgia Tech head coach Kenny Edwards. "They all had the will to win this game and played as well as we have played all season in the first half and in the last few minutes of the third quarter. We started four freshmen and one sophomore and we played like a veteran team all throughout the game. We made mistakes, but when you play as hard as we played you can overcome those mistakes. We beat a very good Southern Union team, a very well-coached team."

WGTC is 12-4 on the year, with wins in 9 of its last 10. Six of those wins have come against NJCAA D-I programs and two others were against Carver College, which is a four-year program. Southern Union dropped to 13-1.

WGTC's defense was stifling from start to finish, holding the Lady Bison to 32-percent shooting while forcing 31 turnovers. The Golden Knights held Southern Union to its lowest point total of the season (59).

West Georgia Tech was equally effective on the offensive end of the floor. The Knights shot 50.9 percent (28 of 55) from the field and connected on 6 of 12 from three-point range.

WGTC shot 55.6 percent in the first half (15-of-27) while holding the Lady Bison to 25-percent shooting (7-of-28).

Iasia Early led four players in double figures for West Georgia Tech with a 17-point effort.

WGTC's leading scorer for the season, Sydnee Clark, and four-time conference player of the week Jacky Jones each added 12 points. All of their scoring came in the second half, with both sitting out the first half due to injuries.
When they made their appearances, West Georgia Tech was already cruising. Yet they still made a significant impact, as the two combined to score 13 of West Georgia Tech's 21 points in the third quarter.

Kia Jefferson scored 11 points and grabbed a team-high six rebounds for the Golden Knights.

All of West Georgia Tech's 15 players saw action, with none playing for more than 26 minutes as Edwards kept his squad fresh throughout the game.

"I love the fact that everyone that went out there played their guts out," Edwards said. "The team really wanted to get the win tonight and they played with the kind of effort that we are looking for, which is the kind of effort that it takes to win championships."

WGTC controlled the game from start to finish, jumping out to a 20-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Black and Gold stretched its lead to 43-20 at halftime.

Southern Union opened the second half strong, with an 8-0 run to close to within 15, at 43-28. But WGTC stymied the comeback by holding the Lady Bison to just three points over the next six minutes of action. WGTC's lead after the third quarter was 64-36.

West Georgia Tech's largest lead was 33, when they led 64-31 with 1:49 left in the third quarter.

"Our freshmen came in and played like we have been teaching them to play," Edwards said. "It takes a while for them to catch on, but they sparked us early tonight. And our five sophomores all contributed big minutes as well. The leadership from those five has been tremendous. This win tonight will give us some confidence heading into conference play next Monday."

West Georgia Tech will host Southern Crescent Tech next Monday in Carrollton, with a 5:30 p.m. tip. The men's game will follow.

West Georgia Tech, playing with a chip on its shoulder after failing to make a second-straight appearance in the NJCAA National Championship Tournament last year, looks like a team playing with something to prove. The journey continues next Monday.