#19 North Georgia Escapes Lander With Tight 72-69 PBC Road Win
GREENWOOD, South Carolina - (UNGAthletics.com) - Once again, the duo of Stephanie Huffman and Mimi Hill proved to be too much as the two helped the #19 University of North Georgia women's basketball team narrowly escape an upset from host Lander University, as they defeated the Bearcats by a 73-69 score Saturday afternoon at LU's Horne Arena. The win was the final regular season road game before PBC tournament play and moves the Nighthawks to 19-5, 13-4 PBC while Lander falls to 11-15, 6-11 PBC with the loss.
Huffman notched her eighth double-double of the season, finishing with 25 points and 13 rebounds, including 9 of 12 from the free throw line. Hill also poured in 27 points on eight of 19 shooting while grabbing 7 boards, as well as going 11 of 14 from the line. The Nighthawks were collectively 26-35 from the charity stripe on the day.
Cierra Jackson filled up the stat sheet with 9 points, 15 rebounds and 5 assists. With the help of Jackson and others, UNG was able to secure a 49 to 35 rebounding advantage – 18 of which were offensive rebounds.
The possibility of an upset became real as time starting ticking with less than three minutes on the clock. Lander took a one-point lead with 2:36 remaining after a Kayla West layup and had the opportunity to extend the lead after UNG followed that up with an offensive foul, however the Nighthawks defense was able to step it up.
Hill then helped North Georgia retake the lead with 1:43 remaining with a short basket in the paint, followed by a pair of free throws from Huffman to extend the lead to 70-67.
After a Lander steal and score by Ty'hesha Reynolds, the lead was then cut down to 70-69, however that would be the end of Lander's offensive production for the day. Reynolds finished the afternoon with ten steals in addition to 26 points on 10-19 shooting.
Following the score by Reynolds, Lander was forced to foul Huffman who went to the line and made one of two free throws, giving UNG a 71-69 lead. The Bobcats still had an opportunity to tie the game or take the lead with seven seconds left; however, West was unable to convert on a transition layup.
Following the miss, Hill grabbed her seventh rebound of the day and capped off the day with a one of two trips to the free throw line, moving the lead to 72-69. Following the free throw, West heaved a desperation three pointer from mid court but the attempt was unsuccessful.
Neither team was able to extend its lead as six points was the largest lead for either team.
Kaylee Akin added valuable minutes off the bench logging a season-high 24 minutes while adding five points and three rebounds.
The Nighthawks will return home on February 26 at 5:30 as they welcome fellow PBC foe Columbus State University Cougars to Memorial Gym. The game is billed as UNG's Spirit Night and will feature a Make-A-Wish reveal for a local child.
Story By: Chris Natsch, UNG Athletic Communications Student Assistant