by Katie Parker, sports information graduate assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - The Georgia College & State University women's basketball team (16-8, 11-6 PBC) took No. 11 Francis Marion University (24-1, 17-1 PBC) down to the wire falling 72-69 for Homecoming tonight (Feb. 21) in the Centennial Center.
Down five with 39 seconds left after a pair of Dominique Powell free throws, Georgia College had a missed shot trickle out of bounds off a Patriot player. On the ensuing in-bounds, unable to find someone, Shandrea Moore (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) tossed it in to a heavily-covered Mandi Dudish (Snellville, Ga.). FMU's Jennifer Dyer tried for the steal missed and left Dudish open for a jumper to cut the lead to three.
The Patriots missed the front end of a free-throw attempt on the other end, resulting in a give-and-go fast break at the other end for a Tiauna Brantley (Woodstock, Ga.) lay-up and a 70-69 deficit with 14 seconds left.
The Patriots, ever ready for the speed game, quickly got down the floor in five seconds, hitting their own lay-in with nine ticks left to stretch it back to three. An off-balance three with three seconds caromed to the Patriots, and the game was retired from there.
A big story for GCSU was how Bobcat guard Emily Bixler (Lawrenceville, Ga.) stepped up and played big for the last home game of her collegiate career posting her first double-double of the season. The senior was lights out from the charity stripe making 13-of-13 and leading the team with 19 points for the night. In addition to being perfect from the line, she also managed to snag 12 boards and block three shots. The senior's 13 free-throws are the most by a Bobcat since Feb. 16, 2002, when Betsy Foy hit 14.
Bixler's classmate Brantley was the second Bobcat recording a double-double tonight, her third for the 2008-09 campaign. After sitting out a game due to illness, the guard came back ready to fight for rebounds strapping up a team high of 15 for the night. Brantley scored double-digits for the 17th time this season putting up 14 points tonight.
Other noteworthy ‘Cats tonight scoring double digits were guards Moore and Dudish. Moore recorded 12 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals. Dudish helped with 11 points and three boards.
Unfortunately, Georgia College's four double-digit scorers could not over power the Patriots three leaders. Eboni Fields led the team with 18 while Creshenda Singletary claimed 14 points and Shana Franks helped with 13.
The run-and-gun Patriots led from end-to-end, scoring the first points of the game just 11 seconds in.
Despite the Bobcat loss they maintain third place in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) standings, one game in the loss column ahead of both USC Aiken and Lander University.
GCSU is back in action Wednesday, Feb. 25 on the road against UNC Pembroke tipping off at 5:30 p.m.
Visit www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame. The GCSU Department of Athletics sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, GCU prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement.