The Wolves (13-7, 7-5 GSC) shot 26-of-32 (81 percent) from the free-throw line, including a 21-of-26 clip during the final 20 minutes, to overcome a shaky shooting performance from everywhere else on the court, fending off the Tigers (9-11, 4-8) and former UWG coach Craig Roden.
“We needed that because we go 2-for-18 at home from 3s. We were fortunate to win. [West Alabama] shot the ball 70 times to our 57 with 19 offensive rebounds. You know, they’re a good team. We’re really excited with the win. We just did enough to win,” West Georgia coach Scott Groninger said.
West Georgia started out the opening half shooting 9-of-18 from the field, building a 24-14 lead on a JaDechia Hill bucket with 7:23 remaining. But the Wolves’ fast start hit a speed bump — missing 10 consecutive field-goal attempts during a span of six minutes and five seconds — before Jerlisa Taylor knocked down a shot with 1:18 to go before halftime.
The scoring drought allowed the Tigers to claw their way back in the game, with UWG clinging to a 29-28 edge at the break.
The Wolves did the bulk of their damage at the line in the second half, scoring 21 points on free throws while hitting just six fields, including an 0-for-10 showing from beyond the arc.
West Georgia matched its biggest lead of the night at 10 points on a pair of Mone’ Peoples free throws with 7:59 to go, but the Tigers kept battling back to keep things interesting. West Alabama cut the deficit to five points on four different occasions down the stretch — and got it down to four points once — but UWG’s proficient free-throw shooting proved to be the difference.
West Georgia also held the Tigers to a 31-percent shooting clip for the game and a 2-of-16 (13 percent) mark from downtown.
Taylor led all scorers with 16 points, three assists and three steals, while Brittany Johnson and Peoples both posted 13 points, with Johnson grabbing seven boards and Peoples pulling down six. Angela Davis also had a nice game off the bench, scoring eight points with eight boards.
The Wolves hit the road next week for a trip to GSC rival Valdosta State on Thursday and a date with West Florida on Saturday in Pensacola, which is a big swing with only six games left before the GSC Tournament.
“That’s something that we need to get done if we’re going to be where we want to be at the end of this thing,” Groninger said. “Those are two teams that were struggling. Valdosta, I don’t know what they did [Saturday], but they had a big win at Huntsville. They won at home against North [Alabama]. They’re kind of on the upswing. We’re going to have to bring our best. That’s a huge challenge for us. But at this stage of the year, that’s what you want.”