DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Haris Price and Briana Smith scored 34 of Carson-Newman's 49 second-half points to lead the Eagles to a 94-90 victory over North Georgia Friday night at Memorial Hall to open the UNG Nighthawk Classic.
Price finished the night with a career-high 29 points going 13-for-14 from the free-throw line while grabbing six rebounds and posting four steals and four assists. Smith finished the night with 23 points going eight-for-12 from the floor.
"It was a great college basketball game and a great team win for our guys," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "North Georgia is very good and well coached. It took all we had to pull that one out. We took a good punch from UNG in the first half and did not flinch. We kept fighting and eventually things began to click in the third quarter. I was proud of our ability to finish the game out by making 19 of 20 free throws. Haris and Bri were huge in the second half."
Carson-Newman (4-0) wins for the second time in five tries in Dahlonega as North Georgia (3-1) has won just one of the last six affairs in the all-time series.
The Nighthawks were highly efficient in the first half shooting 56 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes and leading for all but 1:18 of the action. A 9-3 sequence in the first quarter saw the home teams stretch a one-point edge to six at 21-15 with 3:23 to go. It was a 28-21 score after the opening stanza.
UNG's lead expanded to 12 points at 35-23 in the opening two minutes of the second quarter. With 3:44 to go before the break, C-N trailed by eight at 41-33 before going on a 10-2 spurt to knot the score. Mackenzie Darrah made a layup at the buzzer to give the Nighthawks a 47-45 edge at the break.
In the third quarter the Lady Eagles flipped the script by shooting 61 percent from the field. After Jecca Simerly (Talbott, Tenn.) converted a layup with 4:46 to go, C-N started an 8-2 run to take the lead at 66-60. North Georgia would not lead the rest of the night as it trailed by eight going to the fourth quarter.
The Nighthawks made a run to open the fourth frame pulling within three points, 83-80, on a triple from Amber Skidgel with 3:24 to go in the game. The Lady Eagles scored the next five points as Price went six-for-six from the line to put the game on ice.
Four C-N players finished in double figures as Kayla Marosites (Elizabethton, Tenn.) had 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Mika Wester (Newport, Tenn.) went six-for-11 from floor and posted 13 points, four rebounds and a career-high seven assists.
The Lady Eagles forced 17 turnovers converting those miscues in 18 points as Mincey's group has produced at least 15 points off giveaways in all four games this season.
Skidgel led a North Georgia group that shot 51 percent from the field by racking up 25 points in the defeat. Vanessa Agrusa registered a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
Darrah notched 16 points and five caroms while Deana Blankinship scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds.
In its final outing of the UNG Nighthawk Classic, C-N takes on Georgia College Saturday at 2 p.m. seeking a third straight win over the Bobcats. Fans can follow along with the match here with live updates coming on @CNathletics on Twitter.
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