No. 21 Lady Barons sweep Christmas Shootout opponents

By Terry Gaston

MOUNT VERNON -- The Brewton-Parker College women's basketball team finished off a busy yet rewarding week with two decisive victories Friday and Saturday in the Lady Barons' Christmas Shootout at the Student Activities Center.

The Lady Barons scored a 69-46 victory Friday over Edward Waters College of Jacksonville, Fla., and defeated Flagler College of St. Augustine, Fla., 59-44 in Saturday's other game.

"To lose eight players from last year and be 10-2 at this point is a tribute to our players and how hard they worked this semester," Lady Barons coach Tommy Dalley said.

"Our freshmen, as a whole, have come a long way from the first day, and they're still learning different situations and how to deal with others. We expect them to continue to improve."

The Lady Barons, who were off for eight days because of semester-ending final examinations, raised into the NAIA Division I ratings earlier in the week with a No. 21 ranking after just missing the first regular-season ratings on Dec. 3.

They played like a team worthy of such a rating early against Edward Waters, rolling to a 23-6 lead with junior guard Melody Walker opening an 11-0 run with three straight 3-point baskets.

The Lady Barons' lead grew to 33-12 late in the first half and was 36-19 at halftime by allowing the Lady Tigers just 24.3 percent shooting accuracy in the first half. Brewton-Parker hit 48.1 percent from the field in the first half and finished the game with 46.4 percent accuracy.

Edward Waters hit just 26.6 percent of its shots but had a 22-6 advantage in offensive rebounds and forced 24 Brewton-Parker turnovers, but the Lady Barons forced 28 Lady Tiger miscues.

"Chalk that one up to final exams," Dalley said. "We were a little sluggish, a little sloppy with the ball. We will have to pay better down the road to complete at the level at which we have to complete. After we got up 23-6, I think our intensity level dropped. We just played after that without a lot of intensity."

Senior forward Tameka Oliver, who would be named the classic's Most Valuable Player after Saturday's win, tallied two double-doubles on the weekend. Against Edward Waters, Oliver had team highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Takara Solomon, a senior forward, followed Oliver with 12 points, and freshman guard Ashley Little matched Walker's 11-point effort.

Edward Waters junior guard Latrika Allen had a game-high 20 points in defeat for the Lady Tigers, while senior forward Christina Atwell had a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, eight of which were on the offensive end.

Oliver led a stronger team rebounding effort Saturday against Flagler with a game-high 16 rebounds to complement her 21 game-leading points that led to her fourth All-Classic selection in as many events this fall.

Dalley credited Flagler coach Ashley Bland and the Lady Saints for holding the Lady Barons to a 29.3 shooting percentage and closing a 28-17 halftime deficit to three before Brewton-Parker answered with a 7-0 run.

"We played a very well coached motion offense that makes it tough to defend," said Dalley, whose team still allowed Flagler 32.7 percent shooting accuracy. "Tameka Oliver came through down the stretch when we needed her to, and Takara Solomon did a great job as well, on her 22nd birthday."

Solomon was 5-for-9 as the Lady Barons' best shooter of the day and scored 15 points along with pulling down nine rebounds. Junior guard Toya Rogers had a team-best four blocks along with eight rebounds and seven points.

Senior guard Lucinda Lessington and Solomon joined Oliver as All-Classic selections.

Flagler's top scorer was junior Guard Reagan Brummal with 11 points.

Georgia Southwestern State University also swept Flagler and Edward Waters in the classic format.

The Lady Barons will be off for the between-semester break until Jan. 4, when they travel to Valdosta State University.

"We are going to enjoy our break and vacation, and come back and start over," Dalley said, referring to Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference play that begins Jan. 9.

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Brewton-Parker College senior point guard Lucinda Lessington (No. 2) knocks the ball away from Edward Waters College (Fla.) freshman guard Lashonda Speights at half-court during the second half of the teams' Brewton-Parker Christmas Shootout game Friday night at the Student Activities Center on the campus in Mount Vernon. Lessington recovered the loose ball for a steal.