Georgia Southwestern’s women’s basketball heading to NCAA Tournament

GSW will compete in second straight NCAA tournament

AMERICUS, GA – 2023 has been the year of “firsts” for Georgia Southwestern’s women’s basketball team.
From being regular season conference champs for the first time in program history, to winning the conference tournament for the first time ever.

We also saw head coach Justin Payne win the Peach Belt Coach of the Year for the first time in his career, while the team also finished with the best record under Payne in his four years here. So what’s been the secret to the team’s success?

“We have great players and I have a great staff that are very selfless,” Payne said. “No matter if it’s your shooting workouts early in the morning and throughout the day, they’re busting their behinds and working hard.”

But this will not be the first time the Lady Hurricanes will go dancing. For the second straight year, GSW will compete in the NCAA Division II tournament, and after losing in the second round last year, Payne says this year the ladies have a chip on their shoulder.

“I said after our NCAA tournament game {last year} ‘this was so big for us’ and we came into this season with a different type of aura about us,” Payne said. “We could feel we were going to be a team to be reckoned with in the nation.”

The Lady Canes will have their work cut out for them as they’ll face a familiar foe in the first round: conference opponent USC Aiken. And while GSW has swept them this season, Payne says not to take them for granted.

“It helps but it’s a little scary as well,” Payne said. “Any time you see a team three times, it’s going to be tough. We know it’s going to be a tough game against Aiken, but we have a squad that feels like they can win against anyone.”

Tip off for the first round is set for Friday at noon. And in the year of many “firsts” for GSW, a National Championship could be next on their list.