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Lady Barons hit 30-win mark with road win
Very few basketball teams get the opportunity to achieve a 30-win season, and in the NAIA, very few will have the chance to do it again.
So, when the Brewton-Parker College Lady Barons reached that mark Saturday with their 69-57 victory in their regular-season finale at Shorter College in Rome, Ga., coach Sheila Simmons said she knew her team had achieved something very special.
"I am excited about it," said Simmons, whose team (30-2) finished Southern States Athletic Conference with an 18-2 record and in second place heading into this week's SSAC postseason tournament at Berry College in Mount Berry.
"I don't feel it can be duplicated again, since the NAIA is reducing the regular-season schedule to 30 games. You would have to have a perfect regular season to get it. I am very proud of the accomplishment, and we still have some basketball to play."
Defensive success carried Brewton-Parker again, with the NAIA Division I No. 8 ranked Lady Barons forcing 20 steals and 33 turnovers overall.
"We did a good job of pressuring their guards and forcing some turnovers," Simmons said. "I thought we did a good job of taking care of the basketball, with just 12 turnovers."
Junior guard-forward Tamika Drinks of Mount Vernon had eight steals and seven rebounds to lead Brewton-Parker defensively, while junior guard Ashley Little of Lawrenceville fueled the Lady Barons' offense with 20 points along with five steals and three assists.
Junior guard Dannisha Winfrey of Paterson, N.J., followed with 14 points and junior guard Trivia Richardson of Dublin added 13.
Senior post Kerri Sparks led Shorter (14-15 overall, 8-12 SSAC) with 17 points, 11 coming at the free-throw line.
The Lady Barons will play Thursday in first-round action of the SSAC tournament as the No. 2 seed, with the opponent to be determined following Monday's season-concluding action. However, Shorter appeared the most likely opponent, with Emmanuel College needing to win Monday night at No. 6 Reinhardt College to move into a tie for seventh.
Playing Shorter in consecutive games was fine with Simmons.
"It is good that you have a good feel for what you need to work on to do better and to capitalize on what you did well," she said.
The Lady Barons, with a victory, would play in Friday's 6 p.m. semifinal game, and the championship game is Saturday at 8 p.m. The tournament winner qualifies for the NAIA I Women's National Tournament in Jackson, Tenn., on March 16-22.