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FRANKFORT, Ky. -- For the first time since 2005, the Georgetown College women's basketball team will play in the national quarterfinals after beating Avila (Mo.) 80-71 today in the second round of the 2012 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship presented by Kentuckytourism.com at the Frankfort Convention Center.
Today's win sends the fifth-seeded Tigers (23-9) into Saturday's quarterfinals against the winner of sixth-seeded Shorter (Ga.) and seventh-seeded Rogers State (Okla.). Tip-off on Saturday is scheduled for at 6 p.m. EST
Georgetown overcame early jitters -- the Tigers trailed 15-6 four minutes into the game -- thanks to a 22-9 run to take a 30-24 lead midway through the first half.
"I've never been here before (at the national tournament), none of our players have been here and so every game we've had early nerves and it just takes us time to settle in." Georgetown coach Andrea McCloskey said. "I do think that we settled in a little quicker today than we did in our first game."
Settle in they did as the Tigers extended their lead to as many as nine points on two different occasions in the half, including leading 43-34 at halftime.
Out of the locker room, the Tigers continued to apply the pressure to the Eagles -- making just their second-ever national tournament appearance -- by extending their lead to 57-36 with a 14-2 run.
Senior Gina Beining led the charge for the Tigers scoring six points during the run. Beining finished with eight points, but her biggest contribution, according to McCloskey, came on the defensive end.
"Gina played awesome today, especially defensively," McCloskey said. "I think her defense really helped us because they (Avila) really look to go inside to their post."
While Beining was the catalyst in the second-half run, junior Devon Golden led the Tigers throughout the game. Golden finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the win.
Avila made its final run to get back into the game at the midway of the second half as the Eagles climbed within 61-53.
But the Tigers answered the Avila run by scoring nine straight points to extend the lead to 17 with just under seven minutes left. The Eagles never seriously threatened again.
Georgetown ended the night shooting 43.1 percent from the field, including making 10-of-24 threes (41.7 percent). The Tigers also dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Eagles 42-27.
Eight of nine Tigers scored at least five points in a balanced attack.
"We are only going to win games by playing team ball," McCloskey said. "We can't have one player thinking they have to take it all on their shoulders and tonight we played outstanding as a team."