DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia women's basketball team jumped out to a double-digit second-half lead on Saturday afternoon, before holding off a feisty Georgia Southwestern squad to pull out a 78-74 victory in Memorial Hall in Peach Belt Conference action.
The Lady Saints snap a two-game skid and are now right back in the mix to snag the fourth and final spot in the upcoming PBC Tournament, improving to 15-11 overall on the year and 6-9 in Peach Belt Conference action. The Hurricanes are now deadlocked with North Georgia in the standings, falling to 12-12 overall and 6-9 in league action.
North Georgia took control early, scoring the game's first four points and leading by as many as nine points at 21-12 midway through the period. The Hurricanes fought their way back over the next four minutes, putting together a 14-4 run that was capped by a Terra Branch fastbreak layup to give Ga. Southwestern their first lead of the afternoon at 26-25.
The Lady Saints quickly regained the lead on a Lindsay Moss layup just 20 seconds later as North Georgia once against established control, taking a five-point advantage before the Canes responded and retook the lead at 38-37 with 1:11 remaining in the half. Meredith Montgomery had the answer this time, knocking down a step back three-pointer, followed by four straight Moss free throws to give North Georgia a 44-38 lead heading to intermission.
North Georgia dominated the opening minutes of the second half, holding the Canes scoreless for nearly four minutes and pulling away with a 17-point lead on a layup from Jessica Howard. The Lady Saints would hold a double-digit lead until the 6:11 mark when GSW starting creeping back into the game and used a pair of free throws by Tania Walters at the 3:03 mark to cut the lead to just a bucket at 70-68.
That would be as close as the Canes would come over the final three minutes as North Georgia held off the rally and came away with a 78-74 home victory in Peach Belt Conference action.
Moss tallied her season-high in the victory, scoring 28 points, including a perfect 12-for-12 stint from the free throw line to carry the Lady Saints offensively. Trice stepped up with her career-high in the victory, tallying 17 points with 13 of those coming in the second half as the freshman was 6-for-10 from the field in 33 minutes of action.
A trio of Hurricanes finished in double figures, led by 21 points from Nadirah Gardner as the senior guard was nearly perfect, going 10-for-12 from the field in 28 minutes of action. Jessica Bivins and Walters rounded out the GSW scoring with 14 points apiece.
The road will not get any easier for the Lady Saints as they welcome top-ranked and undefeated Clayton State to town for a PBC showdown on Wednesday evening for Spirit Night in Memorial Hall. Tip-off against the Lakers is set for 5:30 p.m. in what is expected to be another sold out crowd.