Sophomore point guard Nadirah Gardner drained two clutch three-point shots down the stretch to lead Georgia Southwestern to a 60-52 season-opening win over the University of North Alabama on Monday evening at the Storm Dome.
GSW led 33-23 at the break, but UNA chipped away at the Lady ‘Canes lead over the first eight minutes of the second half. The Lions had cut the lead to three at the 11:52 mark. On Southwestern's next trip down the floor Gardner connected on her first three-pointer of the game to swing the momentum back to the home side.
Gardner struck again at the 3:19 mark after UNA had cut the lead to one. The Lady ‘Canes pushed the advantage back to eight over the final three minutes.
Gardner finished with a team-high 16 points. Junior Brandi Burris added 13.
GSW shot 41.3 percent from the floor, connecting on 26-of-63 field goals, including 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) three-pointers, in the game. The Hurricanes dished out 11 assists while also tallying 11 steals.
Amber Rutherford posted a double-double for UNA with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Rutherford hit 11-of-12 from the free throw line in the losing effort. Jameica York finished with 16 points and a game-high seven assists. UNA shot 14-of-49 (28.6 percent) in the game and turned the ball over 23 times.
Southwestern capitalized on the UNA miscues, finishing the contest with a 30-13 points off turnovers advantage.
GSW (1-0) hosts Florida Southern on Saturday (Nov. 22). Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.
PICTURED: Nadirah Gardner
PHOTO BY: Chris Fenn