Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wilson, N.C.—The North Greenville women’s basketball team overcame a 24 point deficit in the second and took a brief lead with 8 minutes left, but the #1 seed Barton Bulldogs eked out a 5 point win, ending NGU’s Conference Carolinas tournament run with a 79-74 win over the Crusaders.

Barton sprinted out of the gates, leaping out to a 20-8 lead at the 10-minute mark in the first half. The Bulldogs would go on to take a 44-20 lead at intermission, advantage of a stagnant NGU offense that shot just 27.8% from the field in the first half.

The Crusaders came out in the second half firing on all cylinders, and will 11:25 left, had pulled to within 3 of the Bulldogs. NGU evened the score at 53 with just over 10 minutes left. The Crusaders finally nabbed the lead with 10:13, the culmination of a 22-3 run which lasted just over 6 minutes.

NGU built its lead to 6, before Barton began its comeback, and with 6:32 left in the contest, the Bulldogs reclaimed the advantage. The game remained close the rest of the way, but missed opportunities by the Crusaders hurt NGU, as Barton iced the game with a pair of free throws.

North Greenville shot well from the field in the second half shooting 17-33 for 51.5%. NGU finished the game 27-69 from the field, but just 3-13 from behind the arch. The Crusaders committed 22 turnovers while the Bulldogs bettered NGU with 23.

“It was a disappointing loss. We were disappointed in how we played in the first half,” said head coach Jayne Arledge. “the press helped us in the second half, and we got up but we couldn’t get any breaks or the shots to fall at the end. But, I’m proud of how the girls responded and came out in played in the second.”

A pair of freshman led the Crusaders, Thursday, in Timisty Nelson and Courtney Friddle. Nelson led NGU with 15 points and 2 steals while Friddle scored10 points and collected 15 rebounds for a double double. Friddle also picked up 3 blocks. Also scoring in double figures for NGU was Krisceda Cotton who had 10.

Thursday’s loss puts an end to North Greenville’s conference season, but the Crusaders are not done yet, as they gear up for the NCCAA South Regional Tournament. The Crusaders are the first seed in the South Region, and will take on Emmanuel College or Point University in the Championship game Tuesday night in Franklin Springs, Georgia.

The winner advances to the NCCAA National Championship Tournament, which is held at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana. It would be the second time in 3 years the Crusaders advanced to the National Championship tournament. The Crusaders finished 4th in the 2010 tournament. More information on the NCCAA regional will be released when the information becomes available.