Montevallo women fall in conference quarterfinal
FROM STAFF REPORTS
The University of Montevallo women’s basketball team’s season came to an end March 1 at the hands of USC-Aiken in the Peach Belt Conference tournament quarterfinals, 63-55.
For the second time this season the Falcons (11-16) took the Pacers to the limit, but fell just short in the end.
Freshman Taylor Beverly saved her best performance of the season for the final game, as she scored a career-high 24 points while hitting 11-of-14 attempts from the field. Beverly also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
Senior Tiffany McClure chipped in 13 points and also dished out seven assists.
Junior Zena Nasiloski was having a tremendous game until a collision going after a loose ball ended her day. Nasiloski scored eight points and grabbed three boards before leaving the game. She was a perfect 3-of-3 from the field, including a pair of 15-foot baseline jumpers.
The Falcons went toe-to-toe with the Pacers, but in the end a 22-11 difference in turnovers proved to be too much.
Beverly kept the Falcons close in the first half with 11 points, connecting on 5-of-7 field-goal attempts. Montevallo jumped out in front early at 4-0 and the Pacers led by as many seven midway through the period en route to a 26-23 halftime lead.
Beverly’s jumper pulled Montevallo within 32-30 six minutes into the second half. A McClure free throw just 46 seconds later cut the Falcons’ deficit to one point, only to have the Pacers respond with a 6-0 spurt.
Lindsey Sundberg’s trey from the left wing gave the Pacers a 45-36 lead before McClure’s driving layup stemmed the tide. Beverly got free inside for consecutive layups to bring Montevallo within 45-42 before Hannah DeGraffinreed answered with a layup of her own for a five-point USC-Aiken lead with 6:28 left.
Kayla Harris connected on a mid-range jumper and DeGraffinreed added four more points as the Pacers once again pushed their advantage back to nine points before Harris’ free throw put Aiken up 52-42 with 4:31 remaining.
The Falcons, who shot 66.7 percent in the second half, continued to claw back when Beverly hit a layup and senior Taylor Welch drained a 3-pointer at the 3:36 mark to cut their deficit in half.
Harris hit a short jumper from the left elbow for a 54-49 Aiken lead, and after the Pacers missed on three chances around the basket, McClure’s slashing layup pulled the Falcons to within 54-49 with 1:44 left. However, Brittany Hill canned a pair of free throws and Harris added one from the charity stripe for a 57-49 Aiken lead.
Montevallo shot 52.2 percent for the game and edged Aiken on the boards, 30-29.
USC-Aiken didn’t attempt a free throw in the first half, but went 15-of-22 from the charity stripe in the second half.