DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The University of North Georgia women's basketball team fell behind early and never fully recovered Saturday afternoon as the Jaguars of Augusta State University were able to hold on to a two-point, 54-52 lead through the closing minutes inside Memorial Hall Gymnasium.
It was the third loss by two or fewer points this season for the Saints (5-9, 3-4 PBC) while the Jaguars (11-2, 5-2 PBC) claimed their third win in a row.
Despite the final score, North Georgia out-shot the Jaguars with a 43.3% (19-44) completion percentage compared to Augusta State's 36.5% (23-63). Neither team played very well in the second half as the Jaguars made just 22.9% of their second half shots, including missing all seven of their three-point attempts, while the Saints shot 35% and made one of their five attempts from behind the arc.
Jaymee Carnes recorded her sixth double-double of the season as she matched Augusta State's Taylor Ayers for most points in the game with 14. Carnes also added 11 rebounds, all off the defensive glass, and turned in one block.
Ayers came off the bench to pace the Jaguars in scoring with eight points scored in the first half and the other six in the second. She also led the team with eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
Neither team showed much energy to start either half, but Augusta State was still able to get things started with a 10-1 run in the opening four and a half minutes of play before the Saints were able to get hot from the field.
North Georgia was able to close to within one when Stephanie Huffman drilled a three-pointer with 7:52 remaining, but that was as close as North Georgia could come in the first half of play as Augusta State stretched their lead back out to four points (36-32) by the half time buzzer.
The second stanza did not see much in the way of scoring as the two teams combined to score 38 points, But Augusta State was able to do just enough to stay ahead until Chester put North Georgia up 51-50 with a three-pointer at the 5:00 mark. Huffman then hit one of her two free throws attempts a minute and a half later, but Ayers had the answer on the ensuing drive and the pushed Augusta State ahead by two with another jumper just a minute later.
The Saints threw everything they had at the Jaguars in the closing minutes, but the Jaguars dodged every close hit and held on to claim the victory.
Things will not get any easier for the Saints as they only have a day and a half of rest before welcoming the No. 3 University of South Carolina Aiken Pacers to Dahlonega on Monday, Jan. 21 for "YMCA Night." The Saints and Pacers will tip off at 5:30 p.m. and all children who wear their rec league jersey to the game will be admitted for free, but the parents will still be required to pay the normal ticket price.
As always, all North Georgia's home basketball games can be followed live via live stats and a free live webcast featuring Craig Corbin and Mike Davenport located on the schedule pages on www.SaintsSports.com. Also, Glory 1330 WGTJ Radio will continue to broadcast live during games with Mike Wofford and Drew Harris on the call. They can also be followed at www.glory1330.com or through the Tune in Radio app.