Canes' Hold Off Lady Saints 60-58 in Final Seconds
– The North Georgia women’s basketball team took the
Hurricanes of Georgia Southwestern State University down to the
wire on Wednesday evening, but came up short, falling 60-58 in
front of a sellout crowd in Memorial Hall in Peach Belt Conference
The Lady Saints fall to 5-9 overall on the season and 1-5 in the Peach Belt Conference’s West Division, while the Hurricanes improve to .500 on the year at 8-8 overall and an even 3-3 in the league’s West Division.
The early going proved to be the story of the game as four ties and three lead changed took place in the first five minutes, with neither team gaining more than a two point advantage along the way.
The Hurricanes then started to pull away midway through the first half, building a six-point lead with 10:24 remaining, but the Lady Saints answered right back with a 7-0 run, capped by a jumper from Whitney Randolph to give North Georgia the lead right back at 23-22 with 7:34 left in the half.
In the final seconds of the opening period, Tiffany Marlow knocked down the first of two free throws knotting the score at 27-27 to create the ninth deadlock of the half, before draining the second free attempt and give the Lady Saints a one-point lead at 28-27 heading into intermission.
The second half proved to be as action packed as the first with neither team ever leading by more than three points over the first five minutes before Randolph knocked down a jumper for the 11th deadlock of the game.
In the final minutes, a Nadirah Gardner three-pointer with three minutes to play gave the Hurricanes the lead for good. With time running down under a minute and GSW holding a four-point lead, Meredith Montgomery hit her biggest shot of the game, draining a three-pointer from the wing to pull the Lady Saints to within one.
The Hurricanes would force North Georgia to foul over the final 30 seconds as GSW knocked down four free throws, but Montgomery hit another clutch three-pointer in the final seconds before the Lady Saints’ defense forced a five-second call on the ensuing inbounds play. Down by two with two seconds to play, North Georgia was unable to convert, giving GSW the two-point road victory.
Montgomery led the Lady Saints with 14 points while pulling down eight rebounds and tallying four assists. Janyce Ealey added 14 points as well, while Randolph recorded 13 points and five blocks.
Nadirah Gardner led GSW with 14 points, while Terra Branch added 12 points and Whitley Wiltz chipped in a game-high 13 rebounds for the Hurricanes.
North Georgia returns to action on Saturday evening, traveling to Clayton State University for an in-state showdown with the Lakers. Tip-off at the Athletics and Fitness Center is set for 5:30 p.m.