NJCAA Region XVII Player of the Year, Ashley West of Middle Georgia Tech, was held to just three points in the first half, but scored 15 in the second half while teammate Bridget Gonder would lead all scorers with 20 points.
However, their efforts were not enough to keep the Lady Bobcats from winning and advancing to the NJCAA National Tournament for the first time in school history.
“We came into the game just hoping to be consistent and keep up what we were doing in our last game,” said GNTC women's head coach Jim Williams. “We hadn’t played since Valentine’s Day, and 11 days is an eternity at this level.”
With the win, GNTC will play a first-round, district-level game on March 3. The opponent and site were yet to be determined as of press time.
The Lady Bobcats clung to a 26-24 lead at intermission, but the GNTC shooters began to find their rhythm in the second half as they connected on 4-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc in the final 20 minutes. They ended the game with eight made 3-pointers.
Lilburn native Kenisha Watkins would lead the way for GNTC by going 4-of-7 from the behind the line while Adairsville High alum Emily Cole added 14 points in the win.
"I was very impressed with Kenisha and the rest of the team today," Williams added. "They handled the pressure so well."
Despite some unknowns, Georgia Northwestern’s coaching staff is already preparing for the next round.
“We won’t know exactly how to prepare for next week until the opponent is determined,” said assistant coach Robbie Nash. “The entire staff - Nanae (Consuelo Saxton), Emmanuel (Turner), Jim (Williams), and myself - are really giving this our all. We are very proud.”
The GNTC men will play in their NJCAA Region XVII tournament beginning on March 2, also in Oxford. If they can win a play-in game against Southern Crescent Tech, the Bobcats will have to win three region tournament games in a row to punch their tickets to nationals.