Lady Barons win 3 on the road before break for finals

By Bill Glass
BPC Public Relations

An already road-weary Brewton-Parker College women's basketball team pulled into the parking lot of Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C., on Dec. 1, but the Lady Barons pulled out several hours later with their third win in four days, 98-89.

"I was concerned about playing Voorhees right after the North Georgia Classic," said women's basketball coach Sheila Simmons, "but thought we would play well enough to pull it out."

For a while, it looked to be a nail-biter as the half-time score had the Lady Barons up by only five points over the Vorhees Lady Tigers, 41-36.

Then junior guard Crystal McNeil of Pensacola, Fla., took charge. "Crystal McNeil had an awesome second half," said Simmons. "She scored 20 points, finishing with a career high total of 24 points."

Toya Rogers, a senior guard-forward from Vidalia, added 19 points and sophomore guard-forward Tamika Drinks of Mount Vernon put in 16.

"We shot an unheard-of 67 percent from 3-point range, making 12 of 18 tries," Simmons said, with Rogers hitting three of the treys that were distributed among six players.

In addition to scoring, strong defense helped secure the victory. The Lady Barons forced the Tigers into 27 turnovers and had 16 steals.

Drinks and Rogers accounted for most of the larceny, with Drinks making six steals and Rogers picking four. The tandem also led the team in rebounding: Rogers with 16 for her third double-double of the young season, and Drinks with 10 boards for her fourth double dip.

"Voorhees has a good team, they have already beaten Reinhardt, a conference opponent," said Simmons, whose team will play the Lady Tigers again Saturday, Dec. 13, at 4 p.m. in second-day action of the Brewton-Parker Holiday Classic. "This win is very encouraging."

The Lady Barons take an 8-2 record into the Holiday Classic, which they begin with a 6 p.m. game Friday, Dec. 12, against Edward Waters College (Fla.) at the Student Activities Center. The action will end a 10-day idle time during the fall semester final exam period. Shorter College is the fourth team in the classic.

Prior to the Voorhees game, the Lady Barons played in North Georgia's ALLTEL Classic where they beat Cumberland University (Tenn.) 80-72 on Nev. 28 and Palm Beach Atlantic University (Fla.) 81-59 on Nov. 29 in Dahlonega.

Again, strong defense was the key. "We forced 32 turnovers against Palm Beach and 21 against Cumberland," said Coach Simmons, "Cumberland is a 3-point shooting team but we limited them to 33 percent on their 3-pointers."

Senior guard Melody Walker of Statesboro had four 3-pointers in leading the Lady Barons past Cumberland with a game-high 19 points, while Drinks had 18 points along with a game co-leading nine rebounds and a game best five steals. Sophomore guard Ashley Little of Lawrenceville followed with 12 points, and sophomore guard Trivia Richardson of Dublin dished five assists.

Against Palm Beach Atlantic, Drinks led five Brewton-Parker scorers in double figures with 16 points and had another double-double with 15 rebounds. Rogers followed with 13 points with three 3-pointers, and sophomore guard Dannisha Winfrey of Paterson, N.J., followed with 12 points. Richardson and Walker netted 10 points apiece.

Despite gaining 10 points in the Dec. 2 NAIA Division I national ratings to finish two spots from the top 25, Simmons sees only more challenges ahead for success.

"We need to work on our half-court defense, I was not happy with it in the Voorhees game," she said.