– The North Georgia women’s basketball team trailed by
as many as 20 points in the second half Saturday afternoon, but the
Lady Saints mounted a furious rally on their way to an 84-79
victory over Trevecca Nazarene in the final game of the Chick-fil-A
Thanksgiving Classic in Memorial Hall.
North Georgia wins their second straight game, moving back to .500 at 3-3 on the young season, while Trevecca Nazarene, ranked 13th in the latest NAIA national poll, drops to 5-2 on the year, splitting their games at the classic.
The first half was all about the Trojans as they used pressure defense and consistent shooting to jump out to a 45-25 halftime advantage. North Georgia led as late as 13:30 remaining in the half, but K.C. Van Atta sparked a 26-7 run with three-pointers on three straight possessions as Trevecca jumped back on top and cruised to a 20-point lead at intermission.
While the Trojans dominated the first period, the Lady Saints equally controlled the second half, pulling to within 10 points at 48-38 just four minutes into the second period. Trevecca would respond however, using another Van Atta three-pointer to equal their largest lead of the game with 11:40 remaining.
North Georgia would reverse the roles over the next seven minutes, putting together a 26-7 run of their own to get right back in the game and trail by just three points at 71-68 with 4:21 remaining.
The Lady Saints fought to within one point on two different occasions before finally pulling even with the Trojans on a Sarah Stinson layup with 2:29 remaining, deadlocking the score at 74-74.
North Georgia would twice take the lead on the next two possessions on Whitney Randolph’s layup and Meredith Montgomery’s three-pointer, but Van Atta responded right back with a jumper in the lane and her sixth three-pointer of the night to tie the score on both occasions making it a 79-79 game with 45 seconds remaining.
The Lady Saints would take over from their as Randolph was fouled and hit both free throws to give North Georgia the lead for good. Ieshia Alexander and Alyssa Stokes hit foul shots in the final 14 seconds to give the home team an 84-79 miracle comeback in the finale of the Chick-fil-A Thanksgiving Classic.
Janyce Ealey led the way for North Georgia once again, tallying 23 points on a 9-17 shooting performance from the field. The freshman was 4-4 from the charity stripe, and pulled down six rebounds on her way to being named the tournament’s most valuable player.
Randolph continued her steady play, adding 14 points and as many rebounds for her second double-double of the season, while Stinson was just as impressive, putting together a season-high 17 points on 7-10 shooting from the floor.
Van Atta kept the Trojans in the game all night long, posting a game-high 24 points on 8-17 shooting, while finishing 6-13 from behind the arc and adding four blocks. Abby Lawson chipped in 14 points and Paige McFarlin tallied 12 points and four rebounds.
North Georgia shot 47.6 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from long range, and 78.3 percent from the free throw line, while Trevecca Nazarene was 46.4 percent from the field, 35.7 percent from behind the arc, and 73.9 percent from the charity stripe.
Turnovers were the difference in the game as Trevecca forced 19 first-half turnovers from the Lady Saints, while North Georgia relinquished the ball just twice in the second half, finishing with 21 miscues to 18 for the Trojans.
North Georgia dominated the boards, pulling down 42 rebounds to just 28 for the Trojans, while the Lady Saints added 16 offensive rebounds that produced 21 second chance points.
The Lady Saints will have two weeks off before traveling to Mars hill College on December 12, to take on the Lions with tip-off scheduled for 2:00 p.m. in North Carolina.