By Matt Green
CARROLLTON, Ga. – Jerlisa Taylor scored 18 points to pace three West Georgia Wolves in double figures and lead her team to a 61-55 overtime victory over Shorter in Gulf South Conference women's basketball action on Sunday afternoon in Carrollton.
With the win, West Georgia improves to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the GSC. The Lady Hawks, days removed from their first-ever GSC win in their conference debut against West Alabama, fall to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in league play.
Shorter's women, who defeated West Georgia in Carrollton last season, nearly made it two in a row over its closest conference rival despite battling an off shooting night.
The Lady Hawks trailed 31-23 at the half after shooting 22 percent in the opening frame and managed to shoot just 32 percent for the game. Still, anchored by another strong defensive effort, the Lady Hawks put themselves in position to win in regulation before forcing an extra session during which they were outscored 8-2 by the hosts.
Carrollton native Karisma Boykin provided much of Shorter's offensive firepower, leading all scorers with 22 points on 8-for-14 shooting.
The Georgia College transfer single-handedly erased West Georgia's eight-point lead with five minutes left in the second half. While the Lady Hawks held West Georgia scoreless over the final 5:01 of regulation, Boykin hit a floater and two deep 3-pointers to account for an 8-0 run and pull Shorter even at 53 with 57 seconds to go. Both teams misfired on potential go-ahead attempts in the final half-minute to send the game to overtime.
In the extra period, a Shelby Farrer jumper brought Shorter to within 57-55 with 3:17 to play, but the Lady Hawks missed their final five shots and a pair of free throws while Taylor netted three of the Wolves' last five points to help her squad escape with a win.
Shorter put together a valiant effort to battle back from a big first half deficit, as West Georgia took advantage of Shorter's struggles from the field to build a sizable halftime edge.
The Lady Hawks shot just 6-for-27 in the opening frame, including a 1-for-13 effort from beyond the arc. Shorter fell behind by as much as 13 in the first half, but held the Wolves scoreless over the final 4:21 of the stanza to make the deficit manageable at the half.
That lead evaporated early in the second half, however, as Shorter opened the second frame on a 9-2 run to set the tone for what would be a dog fight the rest of the way.
Although Shorter never took the lead in the game, the Lady Hawks drew even twice in the final period, the first time on a jumper by Boykin at the 13:37 mark that knotted the score at 36. West Georgia answered with a 7-0 run over the next 2:19, but the Lady Hawks chipped away at the Wolves' advantage over the final 11 minutes of the second half, eventually getting the Herculean effort from Boykin to extend the game another five minutes.
Taylor Turgeon and Brittany Johnson scored 11 each for West Georgia, which didn't fare much better against Shorter's stingy half court defense. Shorter held West Georgia to 36 percent shooting while turning the Wolves over 18 times. The difference came at the 3-point arc, where West Georgia went 10-for-27 while the Lady Hawks shot just 4-for-23.
Shorter returns to action on Thursday, Dec. 6 with a 6:30 pm tip at Montevallo.