After trailing by as many as 16 points in the second half, the Lady Owls (14-16) closed the game on a 14-4 run. The surge was spearheaded by 10 points from Mills, the A-Sun freshman of the year.
The victory, Kennesaw State's first conference tournament win since it joined the A-Sun, guaranteed the fifth-seeded Lady Owls a spot in today's noon semifinal against top-seeded Florida Gulf Coast. The game will be televised across the Southeast on CSS.
Kennesaw State lost both of its regular-season meetings with the Eagles - by 37 at home, but only by seven on the road.
Kennesaw State went into halftime of Thursday's game trailing 26-16 after it shot just 16 percent (5-for-31) from the field - the Lady Owls' worst first-half shooting percentage all season.
North Florida (13-17) continued to lead, 32-16, with 17:59 left to play, but that's when the Lady Owls went on a 9-0 run to cut the Ospreys' lead to seven. North Florida stretched its lead back out to 47-37 before Mills connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to pull Kennesaw State within 47-43 with just under 2 minutes remaining in the contest.
The lead was down to one when Mills came up with a steal and a layup to give the Lady Owls a 49-48 lead. It was Kennesaw State's first lead since midway through the first half.
After a free throw by North Florida's Brittany Kirkland tied the game at 49-all with 5 seconds left, Mills was fouled on a 3-point attempt 3 seconds later and sank two of her shots to give the Lady Owls their final lead.
Lisa Capellan then stole the Ospreys' inbound pass and Kennesaw State ran out the clock to begin its celebration.
Mills led all scorers with 16 points and added five rebounds and three steals. Capellan had 11 points, six rebounds and four steals, while Sametria Gideon finished with nine points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
Larkira Jones led North Florida with 14 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks. Kirkland had 11 points.