Huntingdon knocks off Ferrum in first NCAA tournament appearance
ATLANTA -- In its first NCAA tournament appearance, Huntingdon upset Ferrum 84-67 at Emory's Woodruff P.E. Center.
"Our girls came out ready to play [Friday]," Huntingdon head coach Buzz Phillips said. "Making it to the NCAA tournament was a big step for our program, but it was just a step. These girls wanted to come out and prove we could compete and win against a quality team like Ferrum. I'm proud of the way we played, the confidence we showed early and the way we kept our composure throughout the game."
Huntingdon (19-9) will take on Emory (23-3) in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday. The two teams last met on Dec. 31, with Emory winning 88-44.
"We've got another big test on Saturday," Phillips said. "Emory is Emory and they have a very good team. They beat up on us pretty good earlier this season, but I think we have improved since that first game. We're going to come out like we did [Friday] and play our game. We're going to give it everything we have and try to play our best game of the season."
The win was a milestone for the Huntingdon athletic program. Excluding the men's golf team's eight consecutive appearances in the NCAA Championships, the win against Ferrum was just the second postseason victory for any Huntingdon program during the NCAA era.
On Friday, the Lady Hawks opened with a 10-2 run against Ferrum and led 15-4 in the first four minutes of the game. The Panthers (24-5) rallied and took a brief 29-28 lead late in the first half, but Huntingdon led 35-29 at halftime.
Huntingdon began to pull away in the second half, turning a six-point lead into an 11-point lead in the first four minutes. Huntingdon led by at least 10 points during the final 16:08 of the game, including a 20-point lead (66-46) with 8:25 to play.
Sophomores Tanjanik Munford and Patricia Pickens each recorded double-doubles and were two of five players that combined for 82 of the Lady Hawks' 84 points.
Munford finished with a career-high 18 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. Pickens, after being held to one point and three rebounds in the first half, finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Raven Prater matched a season-high with 16 points, including a 4-for-4 performance from 3-point range. Morgan Crawford scored 24 points, four shy of her career-best at Huntingdon, and Jodie Thomas finished with seven points and eight rebounds.
"Each of those girls turned in their best, or one of their best performances of the season," Phillips said. "[Munford] was huge for us. She has been dominant on the boards all season and she came through with some big points as well. Raven had a gigantic game for us. I think this was her best overall game of the season. Jodie [Thomas] played very well and gave us some good points and rebounds.
"Morgan [Crawford] and [Pickens] did what they've done so many times this season. Morgan is a senior and she is a catalyst for this team. Pat started slow [Friday], but she turned things around in the second half."