Montevallo women set program record with win over Young Harris


MONTEVALLO – The University of Montevallo women’s basketball team set a new school record since the Falcons became a full-fledged NCAA Division II member with its 17th victory following a game-winning 3-pointer by freshman Jacquelyn Thompson with 0.9 seconds remaining in overtime in a 60-58 win over visiting Young Harris College in the final regular season game at Trustmark Arena this season.

Montevallo (17-11 overall, 12-7 in Peach Belt Conference) surpassed the previous NCAA Division II program record of 16 wins set by the 2004-2005 squad with the victory on Senior Day.

“I’m so proud of our team tonight,” said Montevallo women’s basketball coach Cindy Hilbrich. “We were down in the second half and came back and down in overtime and came back. The shot that Jackie hit at the end was huge. The team really wanted to win for the seniors and to get the second seed in the West.  And we also set the record for wins in a season for our NCAA Division II era.  I’m so happy for our seniors. They will never forget this moment.”

The Falcons enter the Peach Belt Conference tournament as the No. 2 seed in the West Division. Montevallo will face Flagler College, the No. 3 seed in the East Division, in the conference tournament quarterfinals Thursday, March 7 at 2 p.m. CST at the Frank G. Lumpkin Center in Columbus, Ga.

Senior Zena Nasiloski and sophomore Taylor Beverly led the Falcons with 13 points each in the victory.

Nasiloski, who also grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds to post her seventh double-double of the season, finished 5-of-13 from the floor. Beverly, who grabbed 12 boards as she posted her team-leading 12th double-double of the season, also blocked three shots in the victory.

Junior Shay Bonner, who grabbed six rebounds, and Thompson finished with 11 points each. Senior Trena Moore-Smith added eight points and dished out a team-high seven assists.

Seniors Alex Strickland, who grabbed six boards, and Carolyn Taite chipped in two points each.

The Falcons jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the game’s opening minutes. Thompson capped the run with a 3-pointer with 15:09 left in the opening half.

Montevallo took its first double-digit lead following a pair of free throws by Bonner with 8:57 left in the first half, which gave the Falcons a 16-6 advantage.

Young Harris trimmed the deficit to 16-14 following a 8-0 run, capped with a jumper by Peyton Roberston with 5:34 remaining in the opening half. Montevallo responded with a 7-0 run, capped with a free throw by Nasiloski with 2:34 left in the half, and carried a 21-16 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Falcons led by as many as nine points early in the second half following a layup by Nasiloski, which gave Montevallo a 25-16 lead with 17:33 remaining in the game. Young Harris responded with a 11-2 run to tie the game at 27-27 following a layup by Kaycee Cash with 14:50 left in the game.

The Mountain Lions took their first lead in the game on a jumper by Breanna Gleeson two minutes later and went on to lead by as many as six points down the stretch, the last time on a 3-pointer by Keta Robinette, which gave Young Harris a 45-39 lead with 4:05 left in the game.

Montevallo responded with a 8-0 run, capped with a layup by Beverly with 1:37 left in the game, to take a 47-45 lead. Beverly pushed the Falcons’ lead to four points on a jumper with 24 seconds remaining,

However, Robinette drained another 3-pointer to cut the Falcons’ lead to 49-48 with 20 seconds left. Following a pair of free throws by Bonner, which gave Montevallo a 51-48 lead with 10 seconds remaining, Robertson converted a three-point play in the final second to send the game into overtime.

Young Harris jumped out to a 58-53 lead in the overtime session following a layup by Roninette with 2:43 remaining in the extra period. The Falcons closed the game with a 7-0 run, fueled by back-to-back baskets by Beverly and Thompson’s game-winning 3-pointer from the wing, to clinch the victory.