by Mark Jagord, sports information assistant
FLORENCE, S.C. – The Georgia College women's basketball team (5-0, 1-0 PBC) got off to their best start in five seasons by winning their fifth-straight and first Peach Belt Conference (PBC) game with a road victory over Francis Marion University (4-2, 0-1 PBC), 69-58 Monday night at the Smith University Center.
With the win, the Bobcats snapped the Patriots' four-game win streak and are now the only undefeated team in the PBC. Head coach Maurice Smith equaled his best start at the Bobcats' helm since his inaugural season (2010-11), when the Bobcats won the PBC Tournament and made an NCAA Tournament appearance.
"I thought it was a total team effort getting some good lift off the bench and we will continue to do that as we go along," said Smith. "I thought we had three main keys going into the game: taking care of the ball, rebounding and defense especially in the transition. Two out of the three I thought we did pretty well in with us winning the rebound battle and being solid in transition defense."
Senior Brandi McKinney (Cincinnati) led the team from the bench for the fourth time this season with 18 points and her first career double-double with 10 boards. She was 4-of-6 from beyond the arc while also co-leading the team in assists with four in 29 minutes.
Juniors Shanteona Keys (Roswell, Ga.) and Enisha Donley (Loganville, Ga.) also registered double-digit points with 14 and 10, respectively. Senior Thresia Elskamp (Potosi, Wis.) had an impressive performance leading the team in rebounds with 14, steals with two and co-leading in assists with four. Also impressive was freshman LaRice Walker (Franklin, Ga.) who was perfect from the charity stripe going 8-for-8 to ice the game late.
The Bobcats held shooting percentage edges from the floor (44-33), beyond the arc (38-25) and from the free-throw line (79-56). Elskamp and McKinney accounted for more than half of the Bobcats' rebounds, helping Georgia College hold an edge for the contest 42-40.
The game was close in the early going, with the lead changing six times in the first six minutes. The Bobcats then went on a six-point run to gain a lead that they would never surrender the rest of the way.
Georgia College built its best lead of the game at 13 with 4:11 remaining in the first half before allowing the Patriots to close the gap at the intermission at 36-30. The Bobcats stumbled out of the gate for the second half as Francis Marion came within one basket of tying the game six times in the first 10 minutes before Georgia College established eight double-digit leads after that.
The Patriots were led by Briana Robinson (19 points) and Dee Gray (10 points), with the latter adding 11 boards.
The Bobcats will be back in action on the road Saturday, Dec. 7 against Georgia Southwestern State University for a 1:30 p.m. PBC tilt.