March 2, 2013

Saint Women Tournament-Bound, Defeat Georgia Southwestern 83-73

AMERICUS, Ga. – For the first time since 2009, the University of North Georgia women's basketball team will be heading to the Peach Belt Conference Basketball Championships. The Saint women used a 50-point second half to defeat Georgia Southwestern State University 83-73 Saturday night, securing their berth into the PBC tournament next week all on their own.

While the Saints did not need it, they received a little help earlier Saturday as Georgia College (12-14, 8-11 PBC) fell 71-69 to Armstrong Atlantic State University (13-13, 8-11 PBC) at home in Milledgeville, Ga. But North Georgia made sure to finish the job on their own as they won their fourth game in the last five.

North Georgia (12-14, 10-9 PBC) ends the regular-season with an above .500 record in PBC play and will look to take on Augusta State University, the No. 1 seed out of the East, in the opening round of the PBC Tournament at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 7 in Columbus, Ga.

In Saturday's game, the Saints fell behind 38-33 entering half time due to 12 first period turnovers. Despite the problems with turnovers, the Saints shot 48.3% from the field in the opening stanza and ended the game shooting 57.1% (32-56) from the field after scorching the net in the second half off an 18-27 (66.7%) performance.

Jaymee Carnes led all scorers with 22 points in 32 minutes of work. The junior forward from Gainesville, Ga. shot 10-16 from the field and had two blocks in the game to lead four starters and one player off the bench in double figures.

Mimi Hill was the next highest scorer for North Georgia as she recorded yet another double-double off 18 points and 13 rebounds. Hill shot 7-10 from the field and 4-4 from the free throw line.

Rounding out the double-digit scoring for North Georgia were Stephanie Huffman with 14 points, Giovani Sims with 13 and freshman Keeley Chester with 11 points.

The Hurricanes ended the game shooting 38.0% (30-79) from the field behind Kayla Dayton's 18 points. Dayton shot 6-14 from the field and converted a game-high four three-pointers as she came off the bench to record 31 minutes of work.

North Georgia led for much of the first half, but a Stormey Smith layup with 9:02 remaining in the stanza tied things up at 21-21. From there, GSW controlled the ball and even managed a nine-point, 30-21 lead with 4:16 remaining before settling for the 38-33 half time advantage.

However, the Saints came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and retook the lead for good when Cierra Jackson drilled a layup with 12:39 remaining.