Nasiloski putback leads Falcons to win over North Georgia

FROM STAFF REPORTS

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – University of Montevallo senior Zena Nasiloski collected an offensive rebound off a missed 3-pointer and laid it in underneath the basket with five seconds remaining to lift the Falcons to a hard-fought 60-58 win on the road at the University of North Georgia in Peach Belt Conference women’s basketball action Jan. 10.

A final shot by North Georgia’s Jaymee Carnes was off the mark with two seconds left to seal the victory for Montevallo, which is off to its best start in conference play since the 1995-1996 season. The Falcons, who have won nine of their past 11 games, improved to 9-5 overall and 4-1 in the Peach Belt Conference West Division with the win.

Senior Trena Moore-Smith and junior Shay Bonner led Montevallo with 15 points each. Moore-Smith, who finished 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists. Bonner, who hit 7-of-15 field goals, finished with three rebounds and a team-high four steals.

Nasiloski finished with her third double-double of the season after posting 12 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. Sophomore Taylor Beverly added her fifth double-double this season year with 10 points and 13 boards.

Senior Alex Strickland contributed three points and eight rebounds, while freshman Jacquelyn Thompson chipped in five points and two assists off the bench. Fellow freshman Jasmine Thomas grabbed three rebounds in the win.

The Falcons led by as many as five points in a back-and-forth battle in the first half. Bonner gave Montevallo a 15-10 lead following a layup with 10:45 remaining in the opening half.

North Georgia led by four points, 27-23, with just under three minutes left in the half before the Falcons responded with a 4-0 run to end the half. Bonner and Taylor scored a basket each in the final three minutes to tie the game at 27-27 heading into the locker room at halftime.

The game continued to be a tight one throughout the second half, with a 52-47 lead by North Georgia with 3:05 remaining in the game tying Montevallo’s five-point lead in the first half for the largest lead in the contest by either team. The Falcons responded quickly with a 5-0 run following a 3-pointer by Moore-Smith and a layup by Bonner to tie the game with just more than two minutes left.

North Georgia led 56-55 in the final minute before another 3-pointer by Moore-Smith gave Montevallo a 58-56 lead with 27 seconds remaining. The Saints tied the game at 58-58 following a layup by Stephanie Huffman with 15 seconds left before Nasiloski sealed the win.

The Falcons’ 5-foot-8 guard flew to the basket to collect a 3-point attempt by Moore-Smith short of the rim, putting it back in off the backboard on the opposite side of the rim to lift the Falcons to the victory. The last-second basket marked the second Montevallo victory in dramatic fashion this season, with Strickland’s last second bucket lifting the Falcons to a 59-58 win on the road at the University of West Alabama in a non-conference contest Dec. 8.

Montevallo returns to action Saturday, Jan. 12 with a Peach Belt Contest on the road at undefeated USC Aiken. Tip off is set for 4:30 p.m. CST.