REGIONAL CHAMPS!!!!! No. 20 Women's Basketball Bests Lander in Regional Final, 73-62

REGIONAL CHAMPS!!!!! No. 20 Women's Basketball Bests Lander in Regional Final, 73-62

ANDERSON, S.C. - For the first time in the NCAA era, the No. 20 University of North Georgia women's basketball team can call themselves Southeast Region Champions as they beat Lander, 73-62, in the regional final at Anderson's Abney Center.

Lander took an early lead as the Nighthawks struggled to knock down shots in the opening minutes, but North Georgia stormed back, cutting the lead to three after the first period. North Georgia took the lead in the opening minutes of the second quarter as part of a 12-0 run, 17-16.

From there, North Georgia never surrendered the lead, even though Lander tied the game twice in the second quarter. The Bearcats brought the game to within five with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter, but the Nighthawks finished the game on a 6-0 run to claim the regional trophy.

- The women's basketball program becomes the fifth program at UNG to make it to the NCAA Division II National Championship round, joining the baseball, cross country, softball and women's tennis programs.

Julianne Sutton was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after a 20-point performance Monday night. Abbie Franklin led all scorers with 22 points, while Tamera Thorpe earned 18 points and All-Tournament Team honors.

- The Nighthawks were 23-of-29 from the free throw line, while the Bearcats were just 7-for-11.

North Georgia will play in the Elite Eight next week with the opening game set for Tuesday, March 26. Time and opponent will be announced on Wednesday after all regionals have been completed and the eight remaining teams have been reseeded.