DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia women's basketball fought back in the second half to take the lead, but then UNC Pembroke pulled away late to take a 77-68 victory over the Lady Saints on Saturday afternoon in Memorial Hall in Peach Belt Conference action.
The loss drops North Georgia to 14-10 overall on the year, falling to 5-8 in the Peach Belt Conference. The Lady Braves get back on track after a tough loss to Augusta State, improving to 10-13 overall and 6-9 in league action.
Following a free throw by the Lady Braves for the opening point of the game, North Georgia took over, scoring 10 straight points, capped by a pair of jumpers from Janyce Ealey to give the Lady Saints a 10-1 lead at the 16:33 mark.
North Georgia led 16-9 with 13:00 minutes remaining in the half, but UNC Pembroke came alive, going on a 16-0 run to jump out to a nine-point lead at 25-16. The Lady Braves hit a pair of three pointers in the run, while Briana Stanton connected on four straight free throws to complete an 18-point turnaround over an eight-minute period.
The first half would be all about runs however, as Buffie Burson's squad called timeout and responded with nine straight points of their own, capped by a bucket from Ealey with 3:02 left in the period to knot the score at 25-25. UNC Pembroke's Anya Knower hit a jumper with just 2:08 remaining, giving the Lady Braves a 32-27 advantage heading to intermission.
North Georgia slowly cut into the lead in the second half and took the lead at the 16:15 mark as Jessica Howard completed a three-point play, giving the Lady Saints a two-point lead at 39-37.
The Lady Braves then grabbed the lead started to pull away from there, extending the lead to 11 points with 11:11 remaining on a jumper from DayDay Ray to give UNC Pembroke a 55-44 advantage. The 11-point lead by UNCP was their largest of the game as they held the margin on four different occasions down the stretch.
North Georgia was nearly perfect from the free over the final three minutes, but the Lady Braves held on for a nine-point victory and a PBC road win.
Ealey led all scorers with 26 points, and pulled down 11 rebounds for the game's only double-double. The sophomore from Carrollton, Ga., was a perfect 14-for-14 from the free throw line, added two steals in 38 minutes of action. Lindsey Moss was the only other North Georgia player in double figures, tallying 18 points and three blocks.
Four UNC Pembroke players finished in double digits, paced by 22 points from DeDe Cotton who added a pair of steals in 24 minutes. Domonique Washington chipped in 12 points, while Briana Stanton and Telena Faison added 11 and 10 points respectively.
The Lady Saints return to action next Wednesday evening, traveling to the University of Montevallo for another Peach Belt Conference contest. Tip-off against the Falcons is set for 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in BankTrust Arena.