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University of North Georgia women's basketball team set to take on Lubbock Christian in NCAA Division II tournament quarterfinals
The University of North Georgia women's basketball team poses after winning the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional on Monday, March 18, at Anderson University in Anderson, S.C. - photo by For The Times

The University of North Georgia women’s basketball program continues its quest for a Division II championship against fifth-seed Lubbock Christian (29-5) in the quarterfinals at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio.

The winner advances to face either No. 1 Drury or No. 8 Nova Southeastern in the semifinals at 8:30 p.m. March 27 in Columbus, Ohio.

“We are confident in each other, and I think that goes a long way,” North Georgia coach Buffie Burson said. “We won’t know much about our opponents, but that goes both ways. March always comes down to first-to-the-floor mentality hustle plays. Anything can happen now that we are in. We’ll keep being us and look forward to what’s next.”

Burson has sparked unprecedented success to the program in her 25 seasons with four 30-win seasons to her name, three of which came when the team competed in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). This season’s 30 win feat is the most for the program in its 14 years in the NCAA Division II. 

“We played together as a team and not as individuals,” senior guard Vanessa Agrusa said. “We listen to each other when things are not going our way, and we give each other confidence and show that we believe in one another to get the job done.”

The Lady Nighthawks defeated Lander University 73-62 on March 18 and are making the program’s first NCAA Division II quarterfinals appearance. North Georgia’s postseason run began with a 91-53 win against Emmanuel College, a 76-53 rout of Wingate University and a 73-62 victory over Peach Belt Conference rival Lander in the Sweet 16. 

“I’m extremely confident in our team heading into the Elite Eight,” senior guard Amber Skidgel said. “We have been playing great basketball, and we have been learning and getting better even through these tournament games. We are ready to compete, give it our all and play North Georgia ball.”

On the other side of the draw, No. 3 Indiana (Penn.) will face No. 6 Azusa Pacific at noon and No. 2 Southwestern Oklahoma will face No. 7 Saint Anselm on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

Compiled by Katherine Wright

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