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Basketball / March 200 6 / Lady Barons get out shot in SSAC title game, finish 2nd again
Lady Barons get out shot in SSAC title game, finish 2nd again
By Terry Gaston
BPC Public Relations
For the second straight year,
the Brewton-Parker College Lady Barons walked out of Berry
College's Ford Gym with the Southern States Athletic Conference
tournament runner-up plaque, once again after watching
their title hopes fade with an offensive attack that merely
fired blanks when the Lady Barons needed it the most.
Second-seeded Brewton-Parker led fourth-seeded and tournament host Berry by seven midway through the second half but scored just five points the rest of the way and none in the final 4:51, and could only watch Berry ride a final 13-0 run to the SSAC title with a 56-48 win.
With the win, No. 20 ranked Berry (24-8) gained the conference's automatic bid to the NAIA Division I National Championship March 15-21 in Jackson, Tenn., although SSAC regular-season champion and No. 7 ranked Lee University (Tenn., 27-6) is also qualified.
The 16th-ranked Lady Barons (25-8) look to make the 32-team field as one of its 16 at-large selections, and the bracket will be announced Wednesday.
“We fought our hearts
out for this game and just came up short,” Brewton-Parker
head coach Sheila Simmons said."We'll go out
to the national tournament and hopefully do a lot better."
The Lady Barons opened tournament play with a 78-59 first-round win Thursday over Georgia Southwestern State University and moved into the championship game with a 75-63 semifinal victory Friday night over Auburn University Montgomery (Ala.).
Against Georgia Southwestern, Brewton-Parker shot 46.7 percent (28-for-60) from the floor, led by a 23-point outing by junior guard-forward Shawnique Johnson of Nassau, Bahamas, and 15 points each from senior All-SSAC guard Ashley Little of Lawrenceville and junior center Brandi Kea of Statesboro.
Johnson was 9-for-14 from the floor and 5-for-6 on free throws in setting the offensive pace, while Kea was perfect on all five shot and five free-throw attempts. Little drilled 5 of 10 shots, including 4 of 8 attempts from 3-point range, and added one free throw.
Senior guard Dannisha Winfrey,
who Wednesday night was named the SSAC's Player of the
Year, and fellow All-SSAC selection Tamika Drinks-Holloway,
a guard-forward from Mount Vernon, were limited to just
six points apiece thanks to foul problems. Drinks-Holloway,
however, mustered a team-high nine rebounds.
"We played with extreme
poise and came out with great intensity, and that intensity
just carried over throughout the game," Simmons said. "We
sustained a pretty good lead and came out victorious."
teams' turnovers were fairly even, with Georgia Southwestern
(14-16) committing 20 errors to Brewton-Parker's
17, but the Lady Barons had a 19-7 scoring advantage in
points off turnovers.
Brewton-Parker also had a 21-6 advantage in assists, with senior guard Trivia Richardson of Dublin, like Little a repeat SSAC All-Academic honoree, leading with seven.
The Lady Barons led 34-20 at halftime and held Southwestern to 40 percent shooting and just 15.3 percent from the 3-point line.
Senior forward Alricia McCain,
another All-SSAC selection, led Southwestern with 20 points
and senior wing Lola Farley added 13, while junior wing
Sophia Small had a game-high 10 rebounds in leading the
Lady Canes' 41-35 advantage on the boards.
Friday, he Lady Barons took command from the outset against
No. 25 AUM, fueled by Little's 15 first-half points in
pacing Brewton-Parker a 40-29 halftime lead.
Drinks-Holloway had 11 first-half points on her way to a game-high 24 points while Little followed with 19. Winfrey followed with 15 points.
The Lady Barons committed
just 10 turnovers while forcing 22, outscoring the Lady
Senators 25-7 off turnovers. Richardson paced Brewton-Parker’s
set-up game with five of the Lady Barons' 14 assists.
"We played exactly the
way we needed to play," Simmons said. "Ashley
made some big shots and Tamika filled in some spots, just
kind of a 1-2 punch. Every game in this tournament is tough.
AUM is physical and is very aggressive on the boards, and
we did everything we needed to do against those two teams
and were fortunate to come out with two wins against two
quality ball clubs."
AUM (18-11) had four players
reach double figures, led by freshman guard-forward Haley
McIntyre's 15 points. The Lady Senators had a 43-29 advantage
in rebounding, led by sophomore forward Amber Stoney's
double-double of 10 boards along with 14 points.
The Lady Barons began Saturday's
championship contest by building a 22-14 lead after 14
minutes in a game that was unfolding as an offensive struggle
anyway, with both teams shooting around 36 percent from
the floor for the first half, and Brewton-Parker led 29-24
at halftime after forcing 18 Berry turnovers.
The defensive pressure kept coming and the Lady Barons forced 32 Berry turnovers for the game and, despite shooting just 13.9 percent from the floor in the second half, they managed to overcome one lead loss early in the half to go ahead 48-43 with 4:51 left in the contest.
But the Lady Barons missed
on their final 10 shot attempts, while Berry rode its home-crowd
advantage to forge a tie just 61 seconds later, and junior
guard Mallory Ranfos scored seven of the Lady Vikings'
final 13 points to lift her to 12 points and overcome 10
"At halftime we talked
about sustaining our lead, playing poised, not letting
the crowd and the officiating get to us," Simmons
said. "We just had a letdown on the offensive end
in the second half. I felt we got bumped on some of our
shots and the kids got frustrated, but what it all boils
down to is you have to put the ball in the hole whether
there’s contact or not. We couldn’t score and
that was the difference in the ball game."
Forward Lauren Phillips, a 6-foot-2 junior from Marietta, had four points in the final run, giving her 14 along with 10 rebounds and the tournament Most Valuable Player award.
Senior forward Deana Duncan of Dallas, Ga., had game-highs of 18 points and 12 rebounds and the go-ahead free throws with 1:58 remaining to garner All-Tournament honors. Berry had a 51-27 rebounding average for the afternoon.
"They're a physical
ball club, had the hometown crowd behind them and played
the game keeping it as close as possible and sustaining,
and they just shot a better percentage (41.0) than we did
Johnson led the Lady Barons
with 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench, while
Drinks-Holloway added 10 points and four steals. Johnson
and Drinks-Holloway were Brewton-Parker's All-Tournament