The last time Georgia College & State visited Christen¤berry Fieldhouse, the Lady Bobcats climbed up ladders and cut down nets.
That won't happen again this year.
North No. 6 seed Lander held the defending Peach Belt Conference Tournament champion to 28 percent shooting Tuesday in a 72-59 first-round upset.
The Lady Bearcats (13-14) will face North No. 2 seed USC Aiken at 1 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals.
"I thought our girls played hard and came out with a lot of energy and excitement," Lander coach Jonathan Norton said. "That's what I've been stressing lately."
In a rematch of last season's tournament championship game, the South third-seeded Lady Bobcats (18-10) led in almost every key statistical category. Georgia College & State took 28 more shots (85 to 57), grabbed 11 more steals (18 to 7) and forced 10 more turnovers (22 to 12).
The Lady Bobcats struggled around the basket, though, missing 17 layups. Starting forwards Ashley Williams and Alicia Porter combined to shoot 5-for-27 from the field.
"We shot the ball 30 more times, had more steals, fewer turnovers and more offensive rebounds," Georgia College & State coach John Carrick said. "We did everything right but put the ball in the hole."
Lander entered the tournament on a five-game losing spell and came out cold, falling behind 7-0.
"Coach asked me if I was ready to play after I had two turnovers early in the game," said White, who scored 13 points, with 14 rebounds and six assists. "I was thinking about how I needed to score and play better."
Lander held the Lady Bobcats to three field goals during an 11-minute stretch as it broke out to a 21-14 lead. Chinessia Lee's layup at the end of the first half gave the Lady Bearcats a seven-point lead at intermission.
Lander scored 11 of the first 13 points to open the second half. White's layup pushed the margin to 43-27 with 15:04 remaining.
Georgia College & State, which went 3-for-26 from
3-point range, unleashed a furious rally to pull within six with six minutes left, but connected on three field goals down the stretch.
Maybe Georgia College & State would still be in the tournament if last season's tournament most valuable player, Latia Love, was still on the team. Instead, Carrick booted the team's leading scorer with six games left in the season.
"It was a problem with her growing up with maturity and dealing with authority," Carrick said.
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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