DAHLONEGA, Ga. – With the feeling of having taken down one of the best teams in the nation still fresh, the University of North Georgia women's basketball team is preparing to close out its four-game home stand with a pair of crucial Peach Belt Conference West Division matchups; including taking on the No. 3 team in the nation for the third time in as many weeks.
North Georgia will play two games this week, taking on Georgia Southwestern University at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24. Thursday is being dubbed "Residence Life Night" as well as "Student-Athlete Appreciation Night."
The Saints will then host No. 3 Clayton State University at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26 for Homecoming. On Saturday, the Blue Ridge Rifles will perform between games and the Homecoming Court will be announced at half time of the men's game.
The Saints (6-9, 4-4 PBC) went 2-1 this past weekend with a pair of wins on either side of another close home loss, this time at the hands of Augusta State University last Saturday. Prior to that, North Georgia went on the road and beat Georgia College 58-48 in Milledgeville on Thursday and claimed a huge 57-50 win over the then third-ranked University of South Carolina Aiken Pacers on Monday.
The Saints enter the final stretch to the PBC Basketball Championships in Columbus, Ga. tied with Young Harris College for the all-important fourth-place in the West Division. The two programs still have to play each other twice in the coming weeks and only the top-four teams in each division will advance to the conference tournament.
North Georgia is currently shooting 38.1% from the field and 30.1% from three-point range. The Saints have really started to gel better on the floor behind the leadership of Jaymee Carnes and Stephanie Huffman who are both averaging over 35 minutes of playing time per game. Carnes has played all 40 minutes three times this season, including Monday night, while Huffman has not left the floor in seven games, including the last three.
Carnes leads the team with a double-double average of 18.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game after claiming her seventh double-double of the season Monday night off 18 points and 18 rebounds. The 18 boards matched her career high and she is now just three rebounds away from eclipsing the 500 rebound mark. Her 18.7 points per game has her currently third in the conference and 23rd in the nation and she leads the conference in rebounds.
Huffman enters this weekend's two games averaging 12.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. She shoots 41.3% from the field and leads the team with 2.9 assists per game.
Georgia Southwestern (3-13, 1-8 PBC) is currently last in the league with their only conference win coming at home over Young Harris College back on Jan. 5. The Hurricanes are in the midst of a five-game losing skid and are shooting 36.6% from the field while opponents shoot 42.4%.
The Hurricanes are led by Jasmine McSwain's 13.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. She shoots 48.7% from the field and 43.1% from three-point range while Danisha Green is the next best scorer with 10.4 points per game. Green is the only player to have started all 16 games this season.
No. 3 Clayton State (16-0, 9-0) sits alone atop the PBC as the only undefeated squad in the conference. The Lakers and Saints have already met once this season with the Lakers coming out on top 86-65 after North Georgia was able to keep pace for the first half of play. Clayton State then went on to out-score the Saints 55-35 in the second stanza behind 16 second half points by leading scorer Drameka Griggs.
Griggs leads the team with 19.3 points and 3.4 assists per game off the bench. She has started just one game so far this season but shoots 53.2% from the field and averages 30.6 minutes of action per game.
Behind Griggs, the Lakers are very well balanced with four players averaging more than 8.0 points per game. Kayla Mobley is second on the team with 9.5 points ahead of Shacamra Jackson's 9.0, Shannon Smith's 8.7 and Bena Hanyard's 8.2 points per game. Mobley leads the team under the basket with 7.6 rebounds per game while Jackson is second with 7.4.
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.