Lady Barons prepare for second half of GACC slate

By Terry Gaston

MOUNT VERNON - The Brewton-Parker College Lady Barons completed their non-conference basketball scheduled Saturday night and can now devote their full attention on the court to what promises to be an exciting second half of Georgia-Alabama-Carolina Conference play.

The Lady Barons finished their first run through the GACC slate Monday night at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus with the first of three conference games this week. Brewton-Parker (16-5 overall) entered the game with a 5-2 GACC record.

Regardless of Monday's outcome, the Lady Barons would be in third place behind Auburn University-Montgomery (8-0) and North Georgia College and State University (7-1) entering the second rotation of the GACC schedule, which begins Thursday

"We are right where everybody predicted us to be," Brewton-Parker coach Tommy Dalley said of the Lady Barons' third-place selection in the GACC preseason rankings. "We played AUM and North Georgia as close as anybody without beating them."

The Lady Barons begin the second half of their GACC slate with a pair of games at the Student Activities Center, Thursday against Shorter College (8-12, 4-4) at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. vs. Southern Polytechnic State University (8-15, 2-6 entering the week).

Brewton-Parker then travels to Central, S.C., on Monday, Feb. 10, to play Southern Wesleyan University at 6 p.m.

"It is a challenge for these seniors to have eight games left," Dalley said. "Our ultimate goal is to make the (NAIA Division I) national tournament in Jackson, Tenn., and we have the conference championship in our sights, so we are looking forward to the next eight games."

The Lady Barons began last week with former Montgomery County Lady Eagles standout Tamika Drinks having the hot hand when Brewton-Parker had an otherwise cold night shooting against Emmanuel College on Jan. 27.

Drinks scored 16 points and the Lady Barons' defense held Emmanuel to just 24.1 percent shooting in their 56-46 GACC win at the Student Activities Center.

Drinks was 7-for-11 from the floor to offset the Lady Barons' 30.8 team shooting percentage. Two nights earlier, in the Lady Barons' 69-67 loss at NAIA Division I-No. 11 North Georgia, Drinks had 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting.

"Tamika has had two really good games back to back," Dalley said of Drinks, who also had five steals. "We need her to continue to do such."

The Lady Barons overcame their first-half shooting struggles (30.6 percent) by holding Emmanuel to 18.5 percent from the floor in taking a 29-19 halftime lead after leading 27-13.

Brewton-Parker built a 17-point advantage with about 12 minutes remaining in the game before "we kind of put it on cruise control," Dalley said. "You cannot do that against anybody in our conference."

The Lady Lions (12-10, 3-5 through the weekend) closed to within seven at 50-43 with 6:55 left but scored just three points the rest of the game.

Freshman guard Ashley Little was just 4-for-14 from the floor but hit 5 of 7 free throws to finish with 15 points. Senior forward Tameka Oliver worked through a back injury to grab 17 rebounds.

Emmanuel senior guard Crissy Walker led all scorers with 19 points and had 13 rebounds for a double-double.

On Saturday, Oliver recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 rebounds in leading the Lady Barons to a 59-56 win over Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C.

Oliver was 7-for-14 from the floor, from which Brewton-Parker hit just 39.2 percent of its shots and committed 25 turnovers against the Lady Tigers' stingy zone defense.

"They zoned us and challenged us to make shots," said Dalley, whose team held Voorhees to just 34.4 percent shooting and to 52.4 percent at the free-throw line. "Hopefully we have our last bad game our of our systems."

Senior guard Takara Solomon added 11 points and eight rebounds for Brewton-Parker, while junior guard and Toombs County graduate Toya Rogers hit three 3-pointers for nine points and had eight rebounds to go with four assists.

Brewton-Parker College freshman and former Montgomery County Lady Eagles standout Tamika Drinks shoots a lay-up on her way to scoring a team-high 16 points in the Lady Barons' 56-46 win Jan. 27 over Emmanuel College at the Student Activities Center on the Brewton-Parker campus in Mount Vernon. (Photo by Terry Gaston)