GREENWOOD – Chelsea Mitchell scored 24 of her 28 points in the second half as the Lander Bearcats rebounded from a lackluster opening half to rout Peach Belt Conference rival Augusta University 98-48 Saturday afternoon at Horne Arena. Lander outscored the Jaguars 68-17 in the second half, including 38-4 in the final quarter.
The Bearcats snapped a two-game losing streak, improving to 14-5 overall and 9-4 in the Peach Belt. Augusta fell to 3-14, 1-12.
Lander trailed by one point at halftime but won by 50 points.
The Bearcats are in a third-place tie in the PBC standings with Francis Marion and Georgia College, trailing only North Georgia (11-1) and Flagler (10-3).
"We have a team that can be very good if we know who we are," said head coach Kevin Pederson. "When this team plays with passion and intensity, that's the result we get. The frustrating thing is, we still can't get it for a full game. We've got some people we have to get going."
Mitchell flirted with a triple-double. She scored her 28 points on 13 of 19 shooting from the floor while pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds. She also had eight steals and four assists.
Tabitha Dailey fell a rebound shy of a double-double, scoring 14 points and grabbing nine boards for the Bearcats.
Ariana Sanders was also among Lander's six double-figure scorers, contributing 13 points. Christal Williams added 12 points and five steals for the Bearcats, Destinee Langford scored 11 points, and Jessica Harris was Lander's second double-double performer with 10 points and 11 assists.
Ashleigh Outler led the Jaguars with 19 points, 16 coming in the first half. Mallory Myers added nine points, while Jahmia Bradley paced Augusta with 11 rebounds including 10 on the defensive end.
The Bearcats forced 32 turnovers and committed only 11. Twenty-two of Augusta's turnovers came in the second half.
Lander had a 48-36 edge on the boards. The Bearcats shot 51 percent from the floor (40 of 79) but only 46 percent from the free-throw line (15 of 33).
Augusta was held to 32 percent shooting from the floor (18 of 57).
Both teams struggled shooting the ball early in the game, but Lander broke a 5-all tie with a 12-3 run and led 17-10 after one quarter.
Williams hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, giving the Bearcats their first double-digit lead at 27-17 with 4:53 left until halftime. Dailey's jumper from just beyond the free-throw line gave Lander a 30-22 advantage at the 2:29 mark.
But Augusta closed the first half with a 9-0 run, taking a 31-30 lead into the break. Outler scored all nine points, converting a three-point play and hitting a pair of 3s.
The Bearcats exploded out of the gates to start the second half, opening with a 13-2 run as they regained a 42-33 lead. Mitchell led the way with eight of the 13 points, making two jumpers in the area of the free-throw line, hitting a long shot from just inside the arc, and adding a put-back.
Dailey also scored during the run when she made a layup off Langford's back-court steal, and Langford capped the run with a layup off a long pass from Williams.
Williams took a nice backdoor pass from Harris and converted a layup, upping Lander's lead to 49-36 at the four-minute mark.
The Bearcats scored three baskets in just 15 seconds to build their first 20-point lead of the game. Harris knifed through the lane for a layup, then Williams stole the inbounds pass and got the ball to Mitchell for a layup. Mitchell stole the next inbounds pass and laid it in herself, making it 59-39 with 1:50 left in the third quarter.
Lander outscored the Jaguars 30-13 in the third period and led 60-44 going into the fourth.
The Bearcat dominance continued to grow. In the first five-plus minutes of the fourth quarter, they outscored Augusta 23-2 for an 83-46 advantage. Mitchell scored five baskets during the run, Sanders added five points including a 3, and Langford contributed a pair of layups.
After a Jaguars basket, Lander put the finishing touches on its second-half masterpiece with the game's final 15 points including five points by Harris and a pair of buckets by Dailey.