MARIETTA, Ga. – North Florida took control with a big third quarter, then held off North Alabama in the final period for an 86-74 victory in the quarter-final round of the ASUN Conference Women’s Basketball Championships on Thursday.
The loss ends UNA’s season with a 7-18 record.
The Lions trailed 41-37 at the half. After a basket by Sakyia White early in the third quarter cut the deficit in half, UNA would not hit from the floor for the next 5:19 of playing time. The Ospreys took advantage, hitting seven of their next 11 shot attempts, including four from three-point range.
A three-pointer at the 5:32 mark gave North Florida a 56-39 lead before a free throw by Macey Lee broke a scoring drought for the Lions. UNF answered with another try to go ahead 59-40 with 5:06 remaining.
The Ospreys led by as many as 23 points before taking a 70-48 advantage into the fourth quarter. UNA slowly chipped away at the deficit, but could never get within single digits down the stretch.
The Lions outscored UNF 26-16 in the fourth quarter. Two free throws by White capped a 10-2 run and made the score 81-69 with 2:10 remaining.
After North Florida connected on four straight free throws to extend the lead to 15 points, the Lions made one last push before running out of time. A three-point basket by Jaida Bond made the score 85-74 in the final minute of play but UNA would get no closer.
Four UNA players reached double digits in scoring, including Bond’s game-high 21 points. White and Olivia Noah also scored 13 points each while Lee added 12 points for the Lions. White also turned in a game-high 19 rebounds while Alexis Callins had nine points and nine rebounds.
Three North Florida players scored 14 points each to pace a balanced attack. UNF advanced to face Liberty in the ASUN semi-final round on Friday.
From Shane Herrmann at the University of North Alabama.