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Home / Athletics / Women's 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."

The 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.

On 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 personal turnovers.

"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 (23.4)."

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 team representatives.




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The mission of Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist college, is to develop the whole student through the application of Biblically-centered truth to a liberal arts curriculum in a community of shared Christian values.
Brewton-Parker College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Brewton-Parker College.
Updated on: April 15, 2010 8:26 PM