Lady Barons wait for national tourney bid
By compiling a 24-8 record against some very tough competition, the Brewton-Parker College women's basketball team has done all it can to state its case for making the NAIA Division I national tournament for the second time in three years.
Lady Barons coach Tommy Dalley hoped to learn as early as Tuesday afternoon if his team's season would resume March 26 in Jackson, Tenn., in the 32-team national tournament. If Brewton-Parker makes the national tourney, it will be as an at-large selection.
The Lady Barons, who were ranked No. 25 in last week's NAIA I ratings, were eliminated from the Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference postseason tournament Friday night in the semifinals by No. 12 ranked North Georgia College and State University 75-63 on the Lady Saints' home court in Dahlonega.
North Georgia then claimed the GACC's second available automatic berth for the NAIA tournament by edging regular-season champion and No. 7 ranked Auburn University Montgomery 62-60 in Saturday's championship game.
"There haven't been any major upsets in other conference tournaments, so I like our chances," Dalley said of his team's national tourney hopes. "We don't know how to practice, so we looked to meet Tuesday afternoon to see if we have some positive news."
The third-seeded Lady Barons advanced to the GACC tournament semifinals with a 60-50 win Thursday over Emmanuel College in a game they led by 29 with 13 minutes left before Dalley rested his starters and primary substitutes.
"They beat us the last 13 minutes, but we got everybody some minutes," said Dalley, whose squad led 31-16 at halftime after freshman guard Ashley Little scored 17 first-half points and the Lady Barons held Emmanuel to 19.4 percent shooting.
Little finished with a game-high 20 points after hitting 6 of 9 3-point shots, and senior forward Tameka recorded her 12th double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Senior guard Lucinda Lessington led Brewton-Parker with seven assists.
In Friday's semifinal game, the Lady Barons led by six in the first half but were passed at the first-half buzzer on a 3-point shot that put North Georgia ahead 32-29.
Senior guard Takara Solomon was plagued with foul problems most of the game and received her fifth foul with nine minutes remaining.
"They still couldn't stop her, but we couldn't keep her in there more than about five minutes at a time," Dalley said of Solomon, who finished with 15 points and shared team-high rebounding honors with Oliver with six boards.
Oliver had a team-leading 16 points while Lessington had 11 with five assists and junior guard Toya Rogers scored 10 points and made three blocks.
The Lady Saints got 22 points from freshman guard Raena Ellis and 21 from junior post Angelyn Love.
"That was a tough deal to have to go to their place for the tournament," Dalley said of North Georgia, which takes a 29-5 record into the national tournament. "Then they beat AUM (now 25-8), so that looks good for us."