By MacKenzie Tuttle, Digital Content Supervisor
ATLANTA – Jana Morning finished the game with a career-best 19 points, as she led the Berry College women's basketball team to a Southern Athletic Association (SAA) tournament quarterfinal victory over Centre College 61-41 on Friday night.
The Vikings advanced to the semifinals for the first time since the 2014-15 season, as they are set to face No. 1 seed Oglethorpe University who advanced over Millsaps.
Berry shot 39-percent (23-for-59) as a team, leading the contest 19-14 at halftime, following a slow offensive start by both teams. Three Vikings finished the game with double-digit points: Morning, Ashley McKee and Nia Smith. No Colonel scored over six points in the loss, as Berry held Centre to just 23.5-percent (12-for-51) from the field.
"We came out with a lot of energy in the second half, valued the ball really well and had better shot selection," head coach Thomas Johnson said. "We were able to force some turnovers that led to baskets in transition. Jana and Alex Weems did a good job of forcing turnovers and allowing us to go more up-tempo."
The Vikings went on to outscore Centre 42-27 in the second half to secure the win. Leading the contest 17 steals to 7, Berry was able to snag 26 points off turnovers compared to just 13 for Centre. The Vikings were also dominant in the paint, outscoring the Colonels 20-8 behind strong defensive play from McKenzie Smith.
"McKenzie was an absolute beast on the glass," Johnson said. "Everyone contributed defensively and we made the most of the opportunities we had."
With the win, Berry improves to an even 13-13 on the year, advancing to the SAA Semifinals. Centre ends their season 15-10.
- Jana Morning: 19 PTS, 6-for-12 FG, 1-for-2 3PT, 6-for-7 FT, 4 REB
- Ashley McKee: 12 PTS, 5-for-11 FG, 2-for-5 3PT
- Nia Smith 11 PTS, 5-for-15 FG, 1-for-4 3PT, 6 REB
- Alex Weems: 9 PTS, 3-for-7 FG, 3-for-4 FT, 7 REB
- Kathleen Wilson: 6 PTS, 2-for-11, 2-for-4 3PT
- Kylee Murray: 6 PTS, 2-for-3 3PT
- Madison Rice: 6 PTS, 1-for-4 3PT, 3-for-4 FG
- Berry last faced Oglethorpe on Feb. 17th, when they topped the Stormy Petrels 74-65 at the Cage Center.
Berry will face No. 1 Oglethorpe in an SAA semifinal matchup tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. The game can be viewed live HERE