DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia women's basketball team played host to the opening day of the 2nd Annual Chick-fil-A Tip-Off Classic on Friday evening, welcoming Chowan University to town and snagging a 51-42 defensive battle at Memorial Hall in non-conference action.
The Lady Saints win their second straight game and improve to 3-1 on the season with the victory, while Chowan remains winless on the year, falling to 0-2 after a pair of tightly contested games to open the season.
Points were hard to come by in the early going as the Hawks scored the first bucket of the game over three minutes into the contest, but North Georgia responded with eight straight points, capped by a layup from Janyce Ealey with 13:14 remaining in the half to give the Lady Saints an 8-3 lead.
North Georgia would take the momentum from there, building a nine-point lead over the next seven minutes as Meredith Montgomery caught fire and knocked down a trio of three-pointers to extend the lead to 19-10 with 6:02 left in the half.
The Lady Saints continued to extend the lead in the final minutes of the opening half, taking a 13-point edge with 1:23 remaining, before settling for an 11-point lead heading into intermission following a layup from Najah Harris to make it a 28-17 game at the half.
The second half saw much of the same as the first period as the Hawks trimmed the North Georgia lead to as few as five points midway through the half, but never posed a huge threat to the Lady Saints down the stretch who extended the cushion back to double-digits with under nine minutes to play.
Bianca O'Neal gave North Georgia their largest lead of the half with 38 seconds remaining, knocking down a pair of free throws to give the Lady Saints a 12-point edge at 48-36. Chowan's Jennifer Hamilton connected on a running layup in the final seconds, but the bucket was not enough as the Lady Saints cruised to a 51-42 victory.
Montgomery led the Lady Saints offensively, going 3-5 from behind the arc and tallying a game-high 13 points, while Sarah Stinson notched the game's only double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Ealey was the only other North Georgia player in double figures with 12 points as the Lady Saints produced their second lowest offensive output of the season.
Talaya Lynch led the Hawks with 13 points and finished a rebound shy of a double-double, while Ransheda Jennings added nine points, but fouled out of the contest.
North Georgia shot 27-percent from the field in their first home game of the season, while shooting 23-percent from long range, and 69-percent from the charity stripe.
In the opening game of the Chick-fil-A Tip-Off Classic, Clayton State was in midseason form, dominating Lynn University 106-46 behind four players in double figures. The Lakers shot 57-percent from the floor and forced the Fighting Knights into 40 turnovers.
The Lady Saints return to action on Saturday afternoon against Lynn University on the final day of the Chick-fil-A Tip-Off Classic in Memorial Hall. Game time is slated for 4:00 p.m., immediately following game three of the tournament between Clayton State and Chowan University at 2:00 p.m.