Originally created 03/02/05

Lady Ospreys, Lady Owls survive first round



Ten minutes after her team's near meltdown, North Florida senior Brittney Davis couldn't sit still.

The South fifth-seeded Lady Ospreys almost blew a double-digit lead in the final five minutes Tuesday but held on for a 59-57 win over North No. 4 seed USC Upstate in the first round of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament at Christenberry Fieldhouse.

"I'm still shaking," said Davis, who scored a team-high 11 points. "I think we got on our heels a bit."

North Florida (13-15) led 59-47 with 4:28 left, but didn't score again. The Lady Ospreys committed five turnovers and missed five jumpers down the stretch.

USC Upstate (14-14) pulled its game together after it fell down by 12. The team used a 2-2-1 press to frustrate North Florida. Then the Lady Spartans caught fire on offense.

After a pair of LeLe Miles free throws, Shannon Pallardy drained a 3-pointer. Miles added a layup. Vania Redd then popped a 3-pointer from the top of the key. With 2:25 remaining, USC Upstate trailed by two.

"I thought we played too tentative down the stretch," North Florida coach Mary Tappmeyer said. "Instead of playing to win, we played not to lose."

USC Upstate had its opportunities to take the lead, but committed a turnover and a three-second violation on back-to-back possessions. After Tamara Hubbard's turnover with 15 seconds left, the Lady Spartans got yet another chance to win the game.

USC Upstate coach Laura Timmons said her team was going for the win with a 3-pointer. If her 3-point shooters were covered, she wanted to dump the ball inside to a post player. None of that materialized.

Instead, freshman Keoshia Worthy threw up an air ball from 12 feet with five seconds remaining. Worthy, a Glenn Hills graduate, shot 1-for-7 from the field but finished with 10 points.

"It wasn't exactly what we had designed," Timmons said. "But she's a gamer. She's a confident freshman."

North Florida will face South No. 1 seed Clayton State at 3 p.m. Thursday in the quarterfinals. The Lady Ospreys were swept by the Lady Lakers in the regular season.

"It'll be a really tough matchup," Tappmeyer said. "But we have nothing to lose."

KENNESAW STATE 70,

FRANCIS MARION 69

Kennesaw State overcame a 10-point deficit in the final six minutes to beat Francis Marion.

Lauren Harris knocked down a baseline jumper with 25 seconds remaining to give the Lady Owls their second lead of the night. Kennesaw State last led at 5-4.

"This is the way we've battled all year," Lady Owls coach Colby Tilley said. "Our kids didn't lose their composure."

Shavonder Clarke scored nine of her game-high 26 points during the final 6:05 to help Kennesaw State erase a 66-56 deficit. Harris added 14 points and four blocks.

Harris blocked Shonelle Downer's layup attempt with two seconds left to preserve the win. South No. 4 seed Kennesaw State will face North No. 1 seed UNC Pembroke at 6 p.m. in Thursday's quarterfinals.

North No. 5 seed Francis Marion (11-17) nearly had the third upset of the first round. The Lady Patriots shot 55 percent from the field and led by as many as 12 in the second half.

Danielle Moore scored a team-high 19 points for Francis Marion, while Brittany Young added 18 points and eight assists. Downer recorded 12 points, 11 boards and four blocks.