DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The University of North Georgia women's basketball team recorded one of the biggest wins in program history Monday night as the Saints defeated the third-ranked University of South Carolina Aiken Pacers 57-50 in Peach Belt Conference action inside Memorial Hall Gymnasium.
The Saints (6-9, 4-4 PBC) broke a four-game losing skid in the series with the nationally-ranked Pacers (13-2, 6-2 PBC) while holding USC Aiken to season-lows in points scored in a half – 17 in the first half – and points scored in a game – 50.
North Georgia shot 42.6% (20-47) from the field including 5-10 from three-point range while holding USC Aiken to 21-67 (31.3%) from the field and just 4-25 (16%) from three-point range.
Junior forward Jaymee Carnes and sophomore guard Stephanie Huffman never left the court Monday night as the duo played all 40 minutes en route to leading the Saints to victory. Carnes tied her career high of 18 rebounds while also scoring 18 points. She went 7-14 from the field, including 3-3 from three-point range.
Huffman ended the night with 11 points and eight rebounds while freshman Keeley Chester scored 10 points in her 34 minutes of work.
The Pacers were led by Porsha Martin's 14 points and six rebounds as North Georgia's defense was able to essentially shut down USC Aiken's leading scorer, Daniela Tarailo, for much of the game. Tarailo, who entered the game averaging 16.0 points per game while shooting 42.3% from the field, scored just 11 points and went 4-14 from the field.
The third-ranked Pacers opened the game with an 8-2 run over the first six minutes, capitalizing on several miscues by the Saints. But North Georgia was able to fight back into things and took their first lead of the game when Huffman made a jumper with 9:14 remaining in the first half.
The two traded the lead back and forth over the closing minutes of the stanza, but the Saints came out victorious; riding their own 8-2 run in the final five minutes of the half to take a 24-17 lead into the intermission.
The Saints never relinquished the lead in the second half as they worked the ball around to stretch their lead out to as many as 16 at one point while keeping the Pacers from finding many open looks. Giovanni Sims scored a put-back bucket in the paint off a missed Mimi Hill three-pointer with 9:29 remaining to acquire the 16-point (45-29) lead for the Saints.
USC Aiken was able to close the gap a little bit in the closing minutes, but the Saints' defense never broke down and withstood the barrage of shot attempts from the Pacers in the closing minutes of regulation to record the win over the PBC East Divisional leaders.
North Georgia will remain at home for the next two games against PBC West foes Georgia Southwestern University and Columbus State University. The Hurricanes of GSW will be the first to travel to Dahlonega with a Thursday, Jan. 24 game inside Memorial Hall. Tipoff of "Student-Athlete Appreciation Night" is slated for 5:30 p.m.
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.