Tigerville, S.C.—Timisty Nelson put together the season's first double-double with 18 points and 16 rebounds, while Alisha Hope added 13 points with eight rebounds as NGU drops the opening game to the University of North Georgia 79-71.
The Crusaders took an early 4-0 lead as Hope scored the season's first basket which was followed up by a jumper from Paulette Addison just three minutes into the game. NGU then suffered a significant scoring drought, going four minutes without a hoop as the Nighthawks worked themselves into a 10-4 lead with 14:19 left in the half.
The Crusaders would find the scoreboard again about a minute later as Timisty Nelson added her first bucket of the season to cut the UNG lead to 10-6. North Georgia would keep NGU at arms length for much of the half however until the Crusaders were able to gain a slip one point, 20-19 advantage with 4:06 left in the season's opening period.
North Georgia would retake the lead however as the first half clock expired, enjoying a small 29-28 margin as the two teams headed to the locker rooms for intermission. Both teams were rusty in the opening frame, shooting just over 30% from the floor. Alisha hope led the way for NGU in the first half with nine points while Stephanie Huffman stuffed 12 to lead all first half scorers. Amber Martin added four from the post while Emily Wampler provided offense from the point position with five first half points.
North Georgia opened the second half on a six point run to extend its lead to 25-28. The Skyhawks maintained but North Greenville's offense would finally pickup as Tyler Powers began to find her range after returning from injury last season. Powers' three pointer with 15:37 would give NGU a 42-40 lead, its first of the second period. Powers, who was scoreless in the second half, finished the night with 12 points after hitting three from behind the three point arc.
The lead would be short lived however, as Cierra Jackson answered with a three of her own, giving the Hawks a 40-39 advantage. UNG would maintain serve for a majority of the remainder, until the 4:45 mark. The two squads would trade the lead three times, as the Crusaders gained the upperhand at 61-60, 64-63, and 66-65. The Hawks continued to answer however, never letting NGU run, eventually tying the game at 66-66, before taking the final lead two points later
The Final nail for UNG came with :42 seconds left on the clock, as Molly Rainwater's three pointer off of an NGU turnover gave the Hawks a 74-68 lead. The Crusaders cut the advantage to five, but were unable to break through as the Skyhawks earned the victory.
The Crusaders fell to 0-1 on the season with the loss while UNG opened the season with a 1-0 record. NGU finished with four players in double figures, as Emily Wampler dropped 12 of her own points to go along with Nelson, Powers, and Hope's double figure performance. Amber Martin Finished with 11 points off of the bench for the Crusaders.
North Greenville had a slight rebound advantage over UNG picking up 45 missed attempts to just 42 for North Georgia. The Crusaders were 4-14 from three during the game, all of which came in the second half. The Crusaders shot 40.0% from the floor for the game.
North Greenville will be back in action tomorrow afternoon with the second game of the Conference Carolinas Peach Belt Challenge against Francis Marion University. The Crusaders and Patriots will tipoff at 5pm in Hayes Gymnasium.