AIKEN -- The USC Aiken Lady Pacers were looking forward to playing at home after losing in overtime at Lander Wednesday.
USC Aiken had lost only once in its first nine home games, but Columbus State proved to be unwelcome visitors, knocking off USC Aiken 76-59 Saturday night.
"I hoped we wouldn't have a hangover from Wednesday's game, but that's the nature of things sometimes," USC Aiken coach Phil Stern said. "This wasn't a good matchup for us. It's the first time we've seen that much pressure all season."
Aiken dropped its second consecutive game in the Peach Belt, falling to 15-9 overall, 7-7 in the conference, while Columbus improved to 21-7, 11-4.
Columbus State's men beat Aiken 75-53.
Two players feeling more at home were the Lady Cougars' Kinesha Harden and Sharon Taylor, both former Laney Wildcat standouts.
Harden, who averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds in her senior season in 1997, scored 12 first-half points en route to finishing with 15 points and seven rebounds.
Taylor, also a junior, finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Both were instrumental in a key 17-0 run in the first half that sunk the Lady Pacers into a 42-20 hole. Harden's layup capped the deciding run to punctuate a defense that forced USC Aiken freshman point guard Jami Cornwell into 12 turnovers.
"It always makes me proud when I can come back and play in the area," Harden said. "I always want to do well because people come over to see me. We're doing really well as a team now, but we can do better."
In the men's game, both squads came into the game looking to score from the perimeter, but it was the Cougars who succeeded.
Columbus State hit 12 of 25 from 3-point land, while USC Aiken was only 4-for-22.
Columbus State went on a quick 9-2 run then added another 11-2 spurt in the first half to take a 42-24 lead into intermission. Columbus State led the struggling Pacers by as many as 32 points.
The Pacers, who have lost seven of their past eight games, also lost Corey Faggins for the year after the senior broke a bone in his hand Monday during practice.
The senior, who scored 1,024 points in his career at USC Aiken, was averaging 13.1 points a game, and was second on the team in 3-pointers with 37.
"The fact that we were able to knock down some three's bailed us out," Columbus State coach Herbert Greene said. "I thought they rebounded a lot better than we did, but we're actually doing a lot more things better. The 3-pointers were definitely key."
Reach Patrick Green at (803) 648-1395.
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