Women’s basketball comes up short to CSU


Marissa Marcolina

Sophomore guard Ashyia Willis shoots the open shot over Clayton State’s defense on Saturday, Feb. 18.

Emily Henderson, Staff Writer

The GC women’s basketball team played their homecoming game Saturday, Feb. 18, against Clayton State University. With the loss of two important players early in the game, the Bobcats came up short 58-69 despite their tremendous efforts until the last second.
“Losing them was definitely a curveball,” said Head Coach Ross Jolly. “Our team did a nice job on adjusting, but yeah, any time you lose someone, it is hard. This is the fewest Harper [Vick] has played ever. She hasn’t missed a game for us in the four years that I have coached her, so it was definitely a weird thing with her not playing the last 35 minutes — Dashaun as well.”
Starting the first quarter, Clayton State focused on their defense against the Bobcats, making things difficult from the start. One mistake by the Lakers that GC took advantage of was their poorly-executed double-teaming. This allowed the Bobcats great success inside the paint during the first quarter.
Both teams played a tight man-to-man defense, which helped keep the scoring close. This defense caused ball movement to be the key to getting an open shot. The Bobcats’ top shooters were not as effective due to the Lakers shutting down three-point shot options.
Towards the end of the first, senior guard Harper Vick went down due to an ankle injury and would not return. GC ended the first down 13-15.
Sophomore guard Alexa Geary started a nice run for the Bobcats at the start of the second, knocking down two big three-pointers to give GC their first big lead of the game.
With the strong full-court defense from the Lakers, it was difficult for GC to move easily down the court. Once they could get down the court, the adjustments made from the first allowed the Bobcats to get by the Lakers’ defense.
With 26 seconds left in the half, junior forward Dashaun Jackson left the game due to a hand injury. Despite the Bobcats’ offensive success, the game remained tight, and they lost the lead, ending the half 28-31.
The Bobcats had a slow start to the third quarter, allowing Clayton State to gain a big lead. GC continued to play to the best of their abilities, but their shots were not falling. Other than their missed shots, everything else was working well for the Bobcats, but Clayton State still led by nine at the end of the third.
The fourth quarter was very similar to the previous. The loss of Vick and Jackson had a big impact. Even with their continued efforts, shots continued to miss, and the Bobcats could not overcome Clayton State, losing 69-58.
Despite this loss, the homecoming game brought a different atmosphere for the women’s basketball team. Even with their much-improved season, this team still did not get the types of crowds that the men’s team received. The homecoming game, however, brought a bigger, more excited crowd.
“Homecoming is probably one of our best games, just because of the atmosphere,” Geary said. “Everyone is just out there cheering you on, so it is just great to be able to play during the homecoming game.”
The Bobcats have two games remaining before the playoffs. GC is currently ranked eighth in the PBC (Peach Belt Conference) and are en route to the playoffs this season. The Bobcats can improve their rank with wins in these next two games.
“We just need to stay together as a team,” said senior forward Cassidy Markle. “We need to focus on the small things, like boxing out, taking care of the ball and stopping drives. So, if we put together the small things all together, then we can come out with the last two wins.”
GC plays their last regular season home game Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 5:30 p.m. to honor their two seniors, Vick and Markle.