Lady Barons split pair in season-opening classic

By Terry Gaston
BPC Public Relations

MOUNT VERNON -- Sheila Simmons' coaching debut at Brewton-Parker College proved successful Friday night in the first of two games in the Tip-Off Classic at the Student Activities Center.

The Lady Barons' season began Friday with a 64-32 win over Florida Memorial College, holding the Lady Lions to 26.1 percent shooting -- 16 percent in the first half -- and forcing 32 FMC turnovers.

Brewton-Parker led by as many as 25 in the first half and 39-18 at halftime, and the final margin was the game's largest.

"We tried to keep the pressure on them and take them out of their flow," Simmons said. "We never let them get established."

The Lady Barons turned in a balanced offensive attack, with three players scoring 13 points apiece: junior forward Crystal McNeil of Pensacola, Fla., and sophomore Dannisha Winfrey of Paterson, N.J., both newcomers; and returning sophomore guard Tori Williams of Valdosta.

Sophomore forward Tamika Drinks of Mount Vernon followed with 12 points, including a 7-for-7 free-throw effort.

McNeil, who was 6-for-9 from the floor, led Brewton-Parker in rebounds with a game-high eight boards, while sophomore guard Trivia Richardson of Dublin made a game-leading five steals and sophomore guard Ashley Little of Lawrenceville had a game-high four assists.

"I thought we had really good balance," said Simmons, whose team overcame 18 turnovers. "I think we had equal minutes and gave everybody good quality playing time."

The Lady Barons found a tough foe Saturday night in Flagler, which rebounded from an 84-53 loss Friday to North Georgia College and State University.

The Lady Saints erased a 19-18 deficit with a 13-4 run to lead by eight, which they did again at halftime, 35-27, and quickly built that lead to 12 in the opening moments of the second half.

Brewton-Parker rallied and closed to within one at 43-42 on Toombs County graduate and senior guard-forward Toya Rogers' 3-pointer with 13:56 remaining.

After again falling behind by nine, the Lady Barons took the lead briefly at 55-54 with 6:53 left, though Flagler charged ahead and led by eight after an 11-2 run.

Brewton-Parker closed to within two at 67-65 on another Rogers 3-pointer with 1:42 to play. However, despite struggling from the free-throw line for most of the second half, the Lady Saints hit two of four in the final 18 seconds to hold on for the win.

"I just felt like we picked up our intensity a little too late in the second half," said Simmons, whose team hit just 9 of 19 free throws. "Every time we would get some momentum, something would happen, either a call against us or something Flagler would do."

Little led the Lady Barons with 17 points and Rodgers finished with 13. Flagler freshman guard Rae Rae Fripp had a game-high 18 points.

"I felt like we played hard and never gave up, but we didn't execute," Simmons said. "It is a matter of us being young and still learning."

With just one game this week, Tuesday at Morris College in Sumter, S.C., the Lady Barons had plenty of practice time to correct errors from the opening games and prepare for their next home contest, Tuesday, Nov. 18, against Allen University (S.C.) at 6 p.m. in the SAC.


Brewton-Parker College sophomore guard Ashley Little (No. 3) of Lawrenceville applies defensive pressure against Florida Memorial College senior guard Erica Johnson in first-half action Friday of the teams' season-opening game in the Brewton-Parker Tip-Off Classic at the Student Activities Center in Mount Vernon. (Photo by Josh Niswonger)