Basketball season ends in distraught

The North Alabama women’s basketball season ended abruptly with a 55-53 loss to No. 5 seed North Florida in the Lions first ever Division-I ASUN tournament appearance. The Lions close out the year with a (19-8) overall record and a (10-6) conference record.

In their final six games, the Lions dropped four of the six to Liberty (twice), Kennesaw State and Stetson. They beat North Florida both times the two teams met this season.

Within the last two minutes, the Ospreys put the game out of reach with a 5-0 run. The Lions held a small three-point lead thanks to Ivy Wallen’s three-pointer to separate themselves from North Florida.

The Lions tied the game midway through the fourth at 50. The Lions had two chances to take the lead or tie the game in the final 21 seconds, but the Osprey’s Jazz Bond came up with a block in the paint to secure the game.

Emma Wallen shot a contested three-pointer as time expired and missed. The Lions shot 4-26 from the three-point line (15.4%). The Wallen twins shot a combined 8-30 on the night and only had 18 points overall.

The Lions held a four-point lead in the first quarter before the Ospreys secured a 13-3 run to end the quarter. The Lions ended the half on a strong run with an Ivy Wallen jumper that cut the lead to one, 29-28.

The Lions scored a total of nine points in the entire third quarter compared to the Ospreys 12, which cut the lead down to four held by the Ospreys at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

In their final loss of the season, Brittany Panetti shot 8-10 for a game-high 19 points – she added six rebounds, four steals and four blocks.

The Lions now look forward to the offseason and recruitment for next year. The Lions lose two seniors, guard Savannah Stults and forward Katelyn Nunley. Stults shot 34.2% for her career and averaged 3.9 ppg, Nunley shot 38.9% and averaged 5.8 ppg.