JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — An offensive rebound and putback by Vanessa Agrusa with 21 seconds left sealed the win for the No. 16 University of North Georgia women's basketball team over sixth-seeded Barton, 81-76, Friday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.
"It's good to get a first-round win," said head women's basketball coach Buffie Burson. "This time of year, you have to be extremely aggressive, and I think we were today. We got so much from so many different players that it was a great team win."
The Nighthawks found themselves down three after one quarter of play after the Bulldogs shot 7-of-15 from the field in the first period. North Georgia clamped down defensively in the second quarter, holding Barton to just five field goals while hitting seven of their own.
After leading by five at the break, UNG extended its lead behind an 8-2 run to start the period and never looked back, holding off a furious rally by the Bulldogs where they cut the lead to as few as two. Agrusa's putback with the time winding down, followed by a missed three pointer by Barton, gave the Nighthawks the right to advance to the semifinals.
- Five Nighthawks finished in double figures, led by Vanessa Agrusa and Julie McKie's 14 points each. Julianne Sutton and Mackenzie Darrah contributed 12 points each, while Abbie Franklin added 11.
- UNG assisted on 23 of its 31 made baskets in the game, including a career-high seven assists for Agrusa.
- This is North Georgia's second win in program history in the NCAA Tournament, winning in the first round of the 2014 Southeast Regional over Columbus State, 85-83.
The Nighthawks will play in the Southeast Regional semifinals tomorrow evening at 5 p.m. against the winner of the Columbus State vs. Wingate game.