December 12, 2012

Saint Women Looking for Improvements in Peach Belt Openers

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The North Georgia College & State University women's basketball team has struggled on the court so far this season, and the road will not get any easier as the Saints (2-5) will open their Peach Belt Conference slate this weekend with a two-game road trek through Savannah, Ga. and St. Augustine, Fla.

The Saint women will open their 2012-13 PBC campaign on Saturday, Dec. 15 with a 1:30 p.m. game at Armstrong Atlantic State University before traveling to Florida for a Monday, Dec. 17 game against Flagler College. Tipoff for the Flagler game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

North Georgia is a team loaded with talent, but through the first seven games, head coach Buffie Burson's group is shooting just 33.8% from the field while their opponents have shot 40.9%. They are also just 26% from three-point range, despite having several perimeter weapons on the squad, which is on par with last season's 29% three-point shooting.

Even though she has been double and even triple teamed at times, Jaymee Carnes leads the conference and is ninth in the nation in scoring as she averages 21.1 points per outing entering the PBC opening weekend. She also leads the team from the field (39.4%) and off the glass as she averages 8.4 rebounds per contest; good enough for tops in the PBC.

Sophomore Stephanie Huffman has been able to take some of the pressure on her shoulders as she averages 10.6 points per outing to go along with 7.9 boards, but it will get more difficult down the stretch with the talent found in the Peach Belt.

The Saints' next-leading scorer is true freshman Molly Rainwater with 5.9 points per outing. She is currently eighth in the conference with a 43.3% shooting performance from three-point range and leads the team with 13 treys so far this season.

After being selected 10th in the preseason conference poll, Armstrong has gone 5-1 to open the season, winning by an average of 16.7 points per contest. Despite being on a three-game winning streak, the Pirates have been off since Nov. 27. The series sits at 11-19 in favor of the Pirates that includes a 66-61 Armstrong win last season at Memorial Hall Gymnasium.

This season, the Pirates are shooting under 45% from the field, including 35.8% from three-point range, while holding their opponents to 35.7% and 23.9% from beyond the arc.

Bryonna Davis highlights Armstrong's offensive attack with an average of 17.0 points per contest which has her sixth in the conference. She has shot 46.8% through the first six games and leads the squad with 21 three-pointers as she is 41.2% from outside the arc.

Demisha Mills averages 10.2 points per contest as a starter while Tori Klewicki-McNutt also has contributed 10.2 points per game off the bench. Mills and Karolina Rykowska lead the team with 35 rebounds each, an average of 5.8 rebounds per game.

Flagler, which was chosen last in this season's conference preseason poll after finishing last in the league a year ago, has never beaten North Georgia in 11 meetings. The Saints from St. Augustine are currently 2-3 for the season with their two wins this season have come by an average of 2.5 points per game.

The Saints are shooting just 33.4% as a team, and that includes just 25.7% from three-point range. Opponents have been connecting on 37.6% of their looks from the field but have not presented a perimeter challenge yet as they are shooting just 28.4% from three-point range.

Flagler is led by Williesha Spencer who is shooting 37.5% while averaging 15.0 points per outing. She leads the team at the free throw line with an 86.7% conversion percentage and also has 18 assists.

Behind Spencer, Shelbi Lindsey, Jen Knurek and Latesha Johnson provide a very well-balanced attack of 9.8, 9.0 and 8.2 points per game each. Lindsey is Flagler's leading three-point shooter with nine on the season off a 40.9% performance and she also is the leading rebounder for the team with 7.0 boards per outing. Knurek is second on the squad with 6.8 rebounds per game and leads the team from the floor as she has been shooting 42.5%.