Posted: Saturday, March 15th 2014 at 12:25am
North Georgia women storm back to win in OT of NCAA Regional
By staff reports
HICKORY, N.C. -– Trailing by 63-48 with under 10 minutes remaining, the 23rd-ranked University of North Georgia women's basketball team mounted a furious rally to force overtime and eventually pull out an 85-83 win over Columbus State at the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional hosted by Lenior-Ryne.
The fourth-seeded Nighthawks (23-6) advance to take on another familiar foe in Armstrong Atlantic State University, the regional's eighth seed, on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in L-RU's Shuford Gymnasium.
"Words can not explain how I feel right," claimed head coach Buffie Burson in a post-game interview with the UNG Radio Network. "We refused to quit and when Mimi found out all I could hear was that we needed to find a way to win."
Stephanie Huffman scored a team-best 24 points on 7-12 from the floor and 10-15 from the charity stripe. She completed her 11th double-double of the season with 13 rebounds. Molly Rainwater added 17 on 5-11 from three while Cierra Jackson pitched in with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
UNG's leading scorer Mimi Hill was held in check with 8 point on just 1-12 from the floor but impacted the game with 13 rebounds. She fouled out with 3:14 left in regulation with the Nighthawks trailing by nine.
North Georgia was plagued by 21 turnovers and allowed Columbus State (21-8) to collect 21 offensive rebounds. The 21 offensive rebounds led to 15 more shot attempts from the floor for the Cougars.
Chatil Bradford and Asha Alexander scored 25 and 24 respectively for CSU. The victory was the third of the season for the Nighthawks over CSU.
Columbus State raced out of the gates with a 9-0 run which was broken by a three-pointer by Rainwater at the 16:29 mark was the first field goal for the Nighthawks.
The game would even up at 18 apiece on a jumper by Lauren Pounds at the 8:32 mark. A pair of free throws by Alexander with just three seconds left in the first half would give the Cougars a 37-31 lead at the break.
Columbus would lead for the remainder of the contest, including a game-high 15 on two occasions with the last coming at the 9:57 mark.
The Cougars led by nine (67-58) with just over three minutes left in the game, but the Nighthawks would not go away. A three by Jordan Livesay began the rally which was punctuated with driving layup by Jackson with just five ticks left. She was fouled on the play but could not connect on the free throw. A desperation three at the buzzer missed wide sending the game to overtime.
Rainwater deposited a three-pointer just 15 seconds into overtime giving the Nighthawks their first lead since 7:11 remaining in the first half.
A layup by Bradford with just 1:28 left gave the Cougars a two-point advantage (81-79) but North Georgia would again jump in front courtesy of another Rainwater three. Ashley Asouzu gave the lead back to Columbus State with a layup with 50 seconds left but Jackson drove the lane in transition to grab the lead back for good. A single free throw by Huffman provided the final margin (85-83) and another desperation jumper from CSU along the baseline was off the mark capping the UNG rally.
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