DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Juniors Jaymee Carnes and Mimi Hill had a block party Thursday night, combining to record 11 blocked shots, but another late basket came between the University of North Georgia (UNG) women's basketball team and victory as the University of Montevallo escaped Memorial Hall Gymnasium with a 60-58 Peach Belt Conference West Division win.
The Saints were trying to be the first team to register a victory under the school's new name, but were unable to overcome another late game bucket and fell to 4-7 for the season and 2-2 in conference action but remained fourth in the division. The win keeps Montevallo third in the division with a 9-5 overall record and 4-1 mark in the league.
Not much changed in the women's conference standings as No. 3 Clayton State University recorded a 75-57 win over Young Harris College to remain perfect for the season and Georgia College held on to second in the standings as they escaped Flagler College with a 59-51 win to also remain perfect in the Peach Belt. No. 4 University of South Carolina Aiken was idle Thursday night and thus remained atop the PBC East standings.
North Georgia finished the game shooting better from the field with a 35.8% (24-67) completion percentage, but the Saints went just 2-15 (.133) from three-point range while the Falcons tripled their output with a 6-16 (.375) effort from beyond the arc.
Carnes ended the night with 14 points and 13 rebounds, 11 off the defensive glass, but what drew attention was how she came just two blocks away from tying her own school record for blocked shots set last season. The Gainesville, Ga. native recorded seven blocked shots in the contest and added three assists in 35 minutes of work as the team finished the night with 12 total blocks. Hill ended the night with four blocks while freshman guard Cierra Jackson also added one.
Sophomore guard Stephanie Huffman ended the night leading all scorers with 17 points that included one of the Saints' two treys. She also chipped in five rebounds, four steals and three assists.
Montevallo ended the 40-minute contest with four players in double-digit scoring figures including two double-doubles. Zena Nasiloski ended the night with 12 points and a game-high 17 rebounds – eight offensive, nine defensive – and Taylor Beverly scored 10 points to go along with 13 rebounds.
The Falcons ended the night shooting 32.5% (26-80) from the field with Trena Moore-Smith and Shay Bonner leading the way with 15 points each.
The game went back-and-forth the entire 40 minutes as the two swapped two-point leads for the first seven minutes. The largest lead either team was able to muster in the first half was five (15-10) by Montevallo at the 10:45 mark off a Bonner layup.
The two teams entered the halftime intermission tied at 27-all.
The second half would progress nearly identical to the first before freshman guard Keeley Chester gave UNG a two-point, 56-54 lead with just 1:33 remaining in the game as she drained a pair of free throws. But Alex Strickland cut Montevallo's deficit in half when she made one of her two just 25 seconds later.
Following a missed jumper by North Georgia, Moore-Smith drilled a trey from the left side to push the Falcons ahead by one with just 127 seconds remaining, but Huffman came out of a timeout with a mission and easily weaved through defenders to lay in a layup and knot the score at 58-58 with just 15 ticks left on the clock.
On the ensuing drive, Moore-Smith missed a three-pointer short, but Nasiloski was there to clean it up with a put-back with just 2.2 seconds remaining. With not enough time to run a play, Carnes heaved up a desperation three-pointer from half court but it fell just short as time expired.
North Georgia will be on the road for their next two PBC games including a 5:30 p.m. contest against nationally-ranked Clayton State in Morrow, Ga. on Saturday, Jan. 12. The Saints will then travel to Milledge, Ga. where they will face a rematch with the Bobcats of Georgia College on Thursday, Jan. 17.