Falcons clinch postseason berth following win over NGCSU

FROM STAFF REPORTS

The University of Montevallo women’s basketball team clinched a playoff berth with a 55-48 win over Peach Belt Conference opponent North Georgia College and State University in its final game of the regular season Feb. 25.

Montevallo (11-15 overall, 6-11 in Peach Belt Conference) used a strong second half to down the Saints of North Georgia College and State University.

Senior Tiffany McClure led the way for the Falcons, scoring a team high 16 points and added five assists, two rebounds and a pair of steals to her final tally.

Freshman Taylor Beverly followed closely with 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds, falling just shy of a double-double on the night. Beverly also added three blocks, three steals and two assists, while Senior Davia Harris chipped in with 12 points, one steal, one assist and seven rebounds.

Junior Zena Nasiloski had eight points, three blocks and seven rebounds and senior Treena Moore-Smith added five points to the team total along with three assists and a rebound.

With neither team shooting the ball particularly well, Montevallo hovering around 36 percent and the Lady Saints at 30, rebounding would be key. The Saints out rebounded the Falcons 41 to 37. Both teams would shoot well form the charity stripe with the Falcons shooting just over 71 percent and North Georgia shooting right at 75.

The game would go back and forth until the Saints took their biggest lead of the night at the 7:40 mark when they went up 17 -10, off of a jump shot from NGCSU’s Crystal Moore. Then just four minutes later the Falcons would tie and eventually take the lead 22-21. The points came from Nasiloski, who knocked down both shots from the free throw line after being fouled by the Saints’ Lindsey Moss.

With seconds left on the clock, Davia Harris would knock down a two to put the Falcons up 28-25 and give them the momentum going into the half.

The Falcon’s did not relinquish the lead until eight minutes into the second half. Montevallo’s McClure fouled the Saints’ Stephanie Huffman who went two for two at the line. The free throws put the saints up 36 to 35. The game was back and forth until the Falcons’ Taylor Beverly was fouled and converted both shots at the stripe, which helped the Falcons seal the victory.

Coach Cindi Hilbrich said her team was determined and excited about the matchup going into the game.

“They just had the mindset and that determination to go out and it was kind of a whatever it takes to win mentality,” Hilbrich said.

Hilbrich said she felt like this game mirrored their season as a whole, with the team having to face a lot of diversity. Senior Alex Strickland stayed in foul trouble; as a result Zena Nasilaski had to play more minutes. Nasiloski ended up getting hit in the head and had to later go to the emergency room to get stitches.

The Falcons travel to Columbus, Ga., to play USC-Aiken in the opening round of the Peach Belt Conference tournament March 1. The game tips off at 4 p.m.