March 4, 2009

Lady Saints Use Late Buckets To Down UNCP

Box Score

AIKEN, SC - Three-pointers by Lindsey Kitchens and Alyssa Stokes allowed ninth-seeded North Georgia to break a late deadlock and go onto a 55-50 win over eight-seeded UNC Pembroke, Wednesday afternoon in the opening round game of the 2009 Peach Belt Conference Women's Basketball Tournament.

North Georgia (9-19) advances to face top-seeded Francis Marion University in a quarterfinal game on Thursday at 1 p.m. UNCP, which drops its opening tournament game for the sixth straight year, ends its season at 12-16.

The three-pointers snapped a 43-43 tie as the Lady Saints held UNCP scoreless for a 5:38 span.

Despite missing four free throws in the final 40 seconds, North Georgia was able to force two late UNCP turnovers and hold on for the win.

Stokes, a freshman guard, hit on 5-of-10 three-point attempts, for a game-high 15 points. Whitney Randolph scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds for North Georgia, while Brooke Baker added 12 points off the Lady Saints' bench.

Sophomore center JaToya Kemp led UNCP with 13 points and 16 rebounds, while Talena Faison tallied 12 points.

North Georgia scored the game's first eight points, holding UNCP scoreless for nearly six minutes as the Lady Braves misfired on their first five shots and committed four turnovers. UNCP did rally to trim the margin to 15-13 on a pair of free throws by Kemp with 8:20 left in the half.

The Lady Saints responded by ending the half on a 16-6 run to carry a 31-19 lead into the locker room at intermission. Randolph (seven points) and Syretha Marble (six) combined for the final 13 points in the spurt.

After Stokes hit a three-pointer to open the second stanza and up the Lady Saints' lead to 15 points (34-19), UNCP answered with a 17-2 run that tied the score at 36-36 after Ashley Morales hit a baseline with 14:11 left.

UNCP would go up 41-38 on a three-pointer by Faison with 9:05 remaining. With the score tied at 43-43, UNCP would not score again until Kristen Hobbs drained a three-pointer from the left corner with 48.4 left on the clock.

PBC Tournament Quotes – Game 1 – North Georgia vs. UNC Pembroke

North Georgia Head Coach Buffie Burson
"I'm real proud of our team to come out and get a first round win"
"This is only our second year to be eligible for the Peach Belt Tournament...feels good to come in after a pretty tough season and get the win."
"I told them right before the second half started this would be like a boxing match. They're going to hit us pretty hard and we'd have to turn around and answer and hit them right back."
"we did a good job of answering when we needed to."
"Says a lot about the character of our players."
"We shot the ball a lot better (in the first half)...I thought they (UNCP) stepped it up in the second half and were really coming at us....that altered our shots and changed the way we played a little bit."

North Georgia's Syretha Marble
Looking ahead to their matchup with No. 1 seed Francis Marion...
"I'm real excited to play them again. Everybody wants to play the No. 1 team"
"We have to focus on ourselves and take care of the ball."
On today's game...
"we had a lot of people step up today."