Lions begin 2018 with near undefeated record

by Sports Editor Jacob Cole

Editor’s Note: This article contains quotes from The Times Daily.

The North Alabama women’s basketball team is entering the last half of their season with a near perfect 14-1 record.

The Lions moved back to second place in the Gulf South Conference after a close home loss to conference foe Union 65-62, but the No. 21 Lions still have more games left.

Lions head coach Missy Tiber said the team  stayed the course throughout the early part of the season.

“With social media, the girls hear about it and they understand where we are at,” Tiber said. “The great thing about our team this year is we have not had any letdowns no matter who we have played. We’ve been very consistent, which is what you want from your team.”

UNA has trounced their early competition with wins over Kentucky State by scores of 107-69 and 71-44 and a big win over Fisk by a score of 115-40.

The Lions handled GSC play, as well. UNA was 6-0 in conference play until the Lions fell to No. 25 Union Jan. 6. The conference wins included wins over West Alabama, Montevallo, Shorter, Mississippi College and Delta State.

The Lions also pulled out a thriller against Lee, with a last second free-throw to keep the Lions’ record at the time.

The women’s team broke records in the 2017-18 season, with two of the Wallen triplets setting records in the win against GSC foe Mississippi College.

Sophomore Emma Wallen set the school record of three-pointers in a game with 10. Wallen scored 34 points and hit 10 of 16 shots from the three-point line. Emma Wallen said when she hits shots, it opens up the offense.

“I got it in my head to be strong because I had not played well here in the past,” she said. “The good thing is I was able to hits some shots early, and that helped open things up for Brittany (Panetti) inside. When we get the inside and outside game going together, we are really good.”

Emma’s sister Ivy broke the GSC assists record with 20 in a game in the same game against Mississippi College.

Ivy Wallen is leading all of Division II with 10.3 assists per game.

With 13 games remaining, all of which are GSC games, the Lions sophomore forward Brittany Panetti said the team knows the challenge ahead of them in the remaining games left.

“We pay attention to the scores around the league, so we know we are in for a battle,” Panetti said.

The Lions will play Jan. 9 at Flowers Hall against Christian Brothers before traveling for a three-game road GSC game stretch starting Jan. 13.

Update: The women’s basketball team defeated Christian Brothers 92-65 to improve to 14-1 overall and 7-1 in conference play.