AMERICUS, GA – Behind a game-high 22 points from Janyce Ealey, the North Georgia women's basketball team rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit to take down Georgia Southwestern 74-60 on Wednesday evening in Peach Belt Conference action at the Storm Dome.
The Lady Saints get back on track, ending a three-game slide and improving to 11-5 overall on the season and 2-3 in the Peach Belt Conference. North Georgia now holds a slight 31-30 lead in the all-time series with GSW, the third most-played opponent in the history of the women's basketball program. The loss drops the Hurricanes to 8-7 overall and 2-4 in league action.
North Georgia got off to a slow start for the second straight game, falling behind by double-digits early as the Hurricanes raced out to a 12-point lead on a three-point play the old fashioned way by Cierra Duhart with 11:24 to play in the first half.
The lead was the largest of the game for GSW as the Lady Saints finally woke up and answered the double-digit lead with an 11-2 run to get right back into contention. Meredith Montgomery capped the run with a three-pointer at the 7:03 mark, pulling North Georgia to within a bucket at 26-23.
The Hurricanes quickly pushed the lead right back up to seven points, but North Georgia put another run together late in the half and Lindsey Moss cut the lead back to two points in the final seconds of the period, knocking down a three-pointer to make it a 34-32 GSW lead heading into intermission.
The Lady Saints came out on fire in the second half, scoring nine straight points and taking their first lead of the game less than two minutes into the period. The lead would be short lived however, as Georgia Southwestern came back and scored 13 unanswered points to regain the lead and stretch their advantage to five points at 50-45.
In a game of runs, it was North Georgia's turn to pour it on as Janyce Ealey caught fire and scored six straight points, sparking an 11-0 to give the Lady Saints the lead right back, this time for good as Jessica Trice extended the lead to six points at 56-50 with just 6:09 remaining.
Following four unanswered points by GSW to cut the lead down to two points, the Lady Saints had seen enough, going on another double-digit run, this time a 10-0 mark to pull away for good and take a 12-point advantage with under two minutes to play.
Biana O'Neal was fouled in the final seconds and connected on both free throw attempts, extending North Georgia's lead to a game-high 14 points, a margin that turned out to be the final margin of victory in a 74-60 Peach Belt Conference victory.
Ealey paced North Georgia with 22 points, including a perfect 8-for-8 stint from the charity stripe, while Moss added 14 points and was a rebound shy of a double-double in 34 minutes of action. Trice finished in double figures, tallying 10 points on a 4-for-7 performance from the free throw line, while knocking down two three-pointers and adding two steals.
The Lady Saints will have two days off before returning to action on Saturday evening, traveling to nearby Clayton State University for another Peach Belt Conference contest. Tip-off against the Lakers is set for 5:30 p.m. in the Athletics and Fitness Center.