By James Vallone
ROME -– On a day when the senior class gets recognized, Shelby Farrer made the most of her final game from the court of the Winthrop-King Centre as she recorded the double-double to lead the Lady Hawks to the 53-47 victory over North Alabama.
In a first half that ended with a 23-19 Lady Hawks advantage, Farrer set the tone with eight points and eight rebounds – including three on the offensive glass. Karisma Boykin had six first half points to be the only other Lady Hawk to connect on multiple baskets in a half where Shorter (14-10, 9-7 GSC) shot 34 percent from the field.
The second half saw the scoring pace pick up, with Shorter going on a 7-0 run over the opening 2:46 to run the lead to 11 points.
After a Kristin Nash 3-pointer pushed the lead to 12 points, 35-23, the teams will trade baskets until a 6:42 scoreless streak brought North Alabama (16-9, 9-6 GSC) back into the game.
The Lions managed to tie the game, 46-46 with 1:58 remaining to play. The final eight points of the game, a 7-1 advantage for Shorter, were scored from the free throw line. The Lady Hawks went 8-for-14 on free throws in the second half to take advantage of 13 UNA fouls.
Farrer ended her day with a game-high 13 rebounds, scoring 12 points, and leading the Lady Hawks in blocks (three) and steals (four) while having a share of the assists lead (two).
Boykin and Nash topped the Lady Hawks with 15 points apiece, with Nash going 3-for-7 from behind the arc while being the only player for either team to connect on a 3-pointer.
North Alabama got 16 points from Nichelle Fillmore and ten from Corinne White off the bench. Mekena Randle, a two-time Gulf South Conference Player of the Week, was held to nine points despite leading her team with seven rebounds.
Chelsi Matthews, who along with Farrer were the lone seniors in this year's class, picked up her first start this season and added a pair of rebounds while providing defense against one of the top scoring teams in the GSC.
North Alabama had entered the game as the second toughest GSC team to score against, only allowing conference opponents 56.7 points – a number the Lady Hawks were held below but still managed to come away with the victory.
The Lions shot 37 percent from the floor; below the 42 percent they had been shooting to lead GSC teams in field goal percentage.
The Lady Hawks will play at Union on Saturday before finishing the regular season on March 2 on the road at Alabama-Huntsville.