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A game between two Top 20 teams tied for first place in the Mid-South Conference lived up to its billing Saturday in Georgetown. The women's basketball team never trailed No. 6 Shawnee State and weathered foul trouble for a 74-68 win in Georgetown.
The Bears (13-3, 4-1 MSC) trailed by eight with less than a minute remaining. Alannah Sheets drove to the basket, scored and got fouled. The guard missed the free throw and SSU's Tabby McKinney grabbed the rebound. She passed it back out to Sheets behind the three-point line for a five-point trip and a 68-65 game.
GC went 6-of-6 from the foul line down the stretch though to pull off the big win in Davis-Reid Alumni Gym. The No. 20 Tigers remain perfect in league play, 5-0, and improve to 12-4 overall under first-year head coach Andrea McCloskey.
"That was a big win for us," McCloskey said. "I think we really capitalized on their mistakes today and that was huge. We would make great defensive stops and come down and convert it into points."
Former Franklin County High School standout Andrea Howard exploded offensively for a career-high 34 points and notched her fifth double-double with 10 rebounds. She hit 10 field goals and five threes, both new career-highs as well.
"I didn't know how many points she had, but she did a great job of getting set and Devon Golden would find her," McCloskey said. "She hit a lot of big shots and made her free throws down the stretch."
The sophomore guard hit a huge three as Shawnee was making a run, cutting it to 53-50. Golden drove down and hit Howard on the left wing. She buried the three and got things rolling in the right direction for the Tigers again.
Senior Gina Beining also stepped up big midway through the second half. Freshman Devanny King picked up a quick pair of fouls, forcing her to sit with four. Beining picked up her third, but McCloskey was able to stay with the Ohio native.
"We are thin at the post position, but Gina really stepped up as one of our senior leaders today," McCloskey said. "We needed her on the floor to play wisely, and she showed she could contribute and avoid her fourth foul.
"I was also able to bring in Lizza Jonas. She doesn't always give you the biggest production on the offensive end, but she works her tail off and really gave us a defensive lift."
Jonas, former Tates Creek High School star, and Beining, despite being a bit shorter than the Bears, continued to get position, block out and grab the rebounds. Jonas finished with a game- and career-high 11 rebounds, while Beining chipped in with eight as Georgetown won the battle 45-39.
"Our next two games are against teams that are post dominate so it was a great game today to have a chance for our posts to gain some confidence," McCloskey said. "It was a good eye-opener that even in foul trouble we can play down low and win the battle on the boards."
Up first is a showdown with University of the Cumberlands. The Patriots are a half-game back of the Tigers in conference standings at 4-0 and are 13-1 overall. Tip is set for 6:30 p.m. in Williamsburg in the Barefoot for Bare Feet game. Coaches and fans are encouraged to be shoeless for Thursday's game.