Originally created 03/02/00

Lady Pacers sent home in 1st round

GREENWOOD, S.C. -- The USC Aiken women's team wasn't looking to break any records.

But the Lady Pacers did so in the worst way.

USC Aiken broke UNC Pembroke's tournament record of fewest points in a half with 11 in the first half, and Columbus State eliminated the Lady Pacers 87-48 in the first round of the PBAC Tournament at Finis Horne Arena on Wednesday.

"We knew exactly what they were going to do," Lady Pacers coach Phil Stern said. "They're quicker than us, they're stronger than us, and I think that comes out in the wash. No matter how prepared you are, if physically you can't compete, you're going to have a tough time winning."

USC Aiken (15-12) shot 17 percent in the first half, converting 4-of-24 shots from the field.

The Lady Pacers actually led 5-2 before Haley Cook drained three 3-pointers to spark a 17-0 Lady Cougars run.

Jami Cornwell made 1-of-2 free throws to cut the lead to 19-6 with 11:56 left in the first half before Columbus State (23-7) went on a 35-2 run to take a 54-8 lead.

After Janell Gerk hit a 3-pointer for USC Aiken, Shanna Jones knocked down a 17-foot jumper with three seconds left before halftime as the Lady Cougars took a 56-11 lead at the break.

With the 56 points, Columbus State broke Clayton State's PBAC Tournament record for most points in a half (54).

Down 45 at intermission, USC Aiken came out in the second half and outscored the Lady Cougars 37-31. The Lady Pacers ended the game shooting 31 percent from the floor.

"Columbus State is by far the worst matchup we could ask for," Stern said. "They are, by far, the most athletic team in the league."

"I think what we did defensively was outstanding," Columbus State coach Jay Sparks said. "I think our defense is getting better every time out."

While this wasn't the way Stern wanted to end the season, he wanted to keep the focus on the progress USC Aiken's program made this season.

"I think we had a great year," Stern said. "We've turned the program around this year winning 15 games and seven conference games."

Gerk led the Lady Pacers with 11 points, while Dana Richter added 10.


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