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UNG Women’s Basketball Keeps Rolling in Win Over No. 3 Catawba

Ben Lilley
Nighthawks bench celebrates.

The University of North Georgia’s women’s basketball program continued its hot start, handing Catawba its first loss of the season on Monday night.

This was a statement win for the program as Catawba was the third-ranked team in the nation and has a physically intense playstyle. According to Burson, facing skilled opponents like Catawba is exactly what the team needs early on in the season.

“We are playing a tough schedule for that very reason.  We are a different team than just a few weeks ago. We want to keep improving every game no matter the opponent. We basically have a brand new team from last year, so we are all still building chemistry. I thought our team competed for 40 minutes, and that’s always a great sign,” UNG Head Coach Buffie Burson said.

The Nighthawks took down their opponent in dominant fashion once again with the final score tallying 72-57. The 15-point win marks the fourth double-digit margin of victory for UNG in six games.

“I think [this win] speaks very highly of our resilience and confidence in one another… We want to play as a solid unit and when we play for each other and believe in each other, I think we can be a team that is very hard to beat.” – Emily Trushel, Nighthawks junior forward

Emily Trushel picked up right where she left off going for 16 points in the first quarter alone, extending the Nighthawk’s lead to 13 by the end of the period. The Peach Belt Conference player of the week continued to stuff the stat sheet leading the team in points and rebounds. Trushel ended the night with 21 points, 8 boards and 2 steals.

Junior Forward Emily Trushel. Photo by Ben Lilley

After an explosive first quarter, production slowed down for UNG. The team was held to just one made shot during the second period. Catawba took advantage of this and started to find holes in the defense for open looks. The lead was cut to just three points by halftime.

“Catawba is a very good transition team. When they cut into our second quarter lead we had missed some easy looks and allowed them to run in transition,” Burson said.  “Halftime was about the importance of finishing so they don’t get those opportunities.”

Kendall Emener provided a necessary spark off the bench totaling 13 points going 5-5 from the field. The second half was back to business for the Nighthawks as they outscored Catawba 36-24 in the final two frames.

Defense was the deciding factor in this matchup. The Nighthawks swiped an impressive 13 steals leading to 20 points scored off turnovers. Freshman guard Lexi Pierce led the team with four steals and stressed the importance of staying focused on the defensive end of the court.

“Defense is the key to making offense flow. We try to prepare for every possible scenario,” Pierce said.

And flow the offense did. Pierce drained three shots from behind the arc and racked up 11 of the team’s 17 third-quarter points. Ending the night with 16 points, Pierce’s impressive two-way performance was a large factor in this matchup.

North Georgia’s win streak has been extended to five games and the team is currently ranked number one in the PBC.

The team is set to travel to King University in Bristol, Tennessee, for their next matchup next Monday, Dec. 4.

Home game admission is free to all UNG students, staff and faculty using the CampusGroups App on their phone. The team plays at home Saturday, Dec. 9 at 1:30 p.m. against the no. 15 ranked team, University of Tampa.

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