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The Flor-Ala

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The Flor-Ala

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Swiftie Night shows Governors they were not “Ready For It’’

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Courtesy of UNA Women’s Basketball

On Jan. 11, the University of North Alabama’s basketball Swiftie Night brought the womens’ team a bejeweled victory. 

The Lions played against the Austin Peay Governors at home in a well-disputed game from beginning to end. The main aspect of the night was the uncertainty regarding its victor, with its final score in a 4 pt difference range, 79-75, in favor of the Lions. UNA finished the game with 51.9 percent in field goals and 57.1 percent in free throws. 

Seconds before the start, Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” set the mood for the game. UNA’s 11 – Veronaye Charlton, a freshman from the Bahamas – took the initiative and conquered the first score. The Governors did not accept the rival’s advantage and soon scored twice in a row. At 10-9 for the Lions, a timeout was called. 

To celebrate the Swiftie Night, the UNA mascots Leo, who was wearing a Kansas City Chiefs jersey with the tight end Travis Kelce’s number, and Una, who was sporting a purple Taylor Swift shirt, entertained the crowd with a life-sized Taylor Swift cardboard cutout.

Back from the time out, Katie Criswell (13) lost possession of the ball between her legs, leading Austin Peay to cross the court and score a three-point field goal. The first quarter ended with UNA’s 12 – graduate student Allie Craig Cruce – scoring a three-point field goal, giving the Lions the chance to tie at 21-21. Cruce was the highest-scoring player of the game, with an incredible contribution of 27 points in a 37-minute play and a 9-13 for shooting from the field, summarizing in a 69.2 percentage.

Even though the tie leveled the playing field, the Governors were showing a tight marking, leading UNA to a seemingly indecisive pass of the ball between players until one of them could break the rival’s barrier.

The second quarter followed the inclination of the first where ties were frequent. Some of the highlights included Cruce losing three penalty shots but reconquering them by scoring two two-point field goals; Criswell, who broke the 28-28 tie in an impressive two-point field goal while two players from the Governors were trying to block her; and Charlton, who dribbled three players from the rival team and scored two points before the next time out, leading the Lions to a two-point advantage on the Governors. 

The timeout brought the action of the first Swiftie-related competition of the night when two young boys faced each other to see who could get dressed in basketball jerseys and score a field goal first.

Coming back for the end of the second quarter, UNA lost its lead when Austin Peay’s No. 5, the junior Abby Cater, scored two three-point field goals. The first half finished at 37-38, the only quarter of the game UNA did not end on top. 

The spirit of the Swiftie Night amused the crowd again at the half-time presentation when children competed in a fashion walk for the best outfit inspired by Taylor Swift’s career. The young girls wore sparkly jackets, Travis Kelce’s jersey, microphones, tutus, and heart-shaped glasses. The competitors joined UNA’s dance team and cheerleaders in a cheerful dance while Swift’s “Shake It Off” played, and left the basketball court in a Conga line. 

The second half of the game was heated up by Cruce scoring a two-point field goal disregarding Austin Peay’s attempts of blocking the player. Alyssa Clutter (23), a sophomore guard from Pennsylvania, shined in the third quarter by impressively leading many turnovers and, by herself, directing the ball from one side of the court to the other, managing important assists. 

The third quarter ended at 57-54 in favor of the Lions. The crowd seemed anxious due to the proximity of the points and frequent ties throughout the game. At the break, UNA’s band played Swift’s “Shake It Off.”

The mood for the fourth quarter started heating up when UNA’s Alexis Callins (15), a senior from Tennessee, had her three-point field goal counted as invalid, and the crowd booed. 

The fourth quarter followed the tie pattern of the previous quarters. When the game had only 1:30 minutes to go, the teams were tied at 70-70, until UNA’s Sara Wohlgemuth (5), with an 80.0 percentage in field goals, broke the tie with a three-point shot. Austin Peay’ 21 had the chance of a two-point field goal, but the closeness did not last long when Cruce scored another three points for UNA shortly after, and the crowd cheered loudly.

Soon, the Governors scored another three-point field goal, making the score a 76-75 for the Lions. With less than a minute left, the crowd, players and coaches seemed anxious for the uncertain result. 

It was only when Alyssa Clutter scored two points in penalty shots and Peay missed the opportunities of a three- and a two-point field goal, that the crowd’s anxiousness started leaning more unto certainty. 

At 78-75 in favor of UNA, the three last seconds of the game were marked by victory when Wohlgemuth scored a point on a free throw.

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Manuela Ludolf, Staff Writer

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