Stellar Senior Performances Lead Women's Basketball Past Samford
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Seniors Shanese Harris (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) and Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) combined for 25 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and six steals as UNCG defeated the Samford Bulldogs 64-40 on Saturday evening in Fleming Gymnasium. UNCG improves to 10-9 overall, and 1-3 in Southern Conference action. Samford falls to 7-11 and 1-3 in SoCon paly.
The win marks the first SoCon win since Feb. 23, 2015 when UNCG defeated Wofford, and it is the largest margin of victory over a conference opponent since the 2006-07 season when UNCG scored an 88-40 victory over Elon.
The Spartans finished 26-for-51 from the field, while holding Samford to 14-for-40. The Spartans were in control throughout the game, taking a 30-24 lead into halftime. UNCG came out strong in the second half, outscoring Samford 34-16 over the final 20 minutes. The Spartans defense smothered the Bulldog offense, forcing 22 turnovers and UNCG outrebounded Samford 30-21.
“I’m really happy for our team because of the way we won the game.” Head coach Trina Patterson said, “We’ve been able to get leads, but we haven’t been able to put teams away. I thought we were really in attack mode today. Shanese Harris did a great job coming off of the bench and penetrating. Mangela Ngandjui did a great job coming in and being very aggressive.”
“Samford is a well-coached offensive team and we were able to take away their 3-point game, and then we took away some of their layups.” Patterson continued, “Our press defense helped us. I thought the team played really well, four players in double figures, shooting over 50-percent, it was a great team effort.”
Harris (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) led all scorers with 14 points. She earned four assists; recorded five steals, earned four rebounds and blocked two shots. Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) added 13 points, Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) added 11 points, a team-high five assists, and three boards, and Te’ja Twitty (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) earned 10 points.
Twitty and senior India Timpton (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) each collected six rebounds. Timpton contributed with a pair of assists, and both added a blocked shot and a steal.
After a Soliman 3-pointer put UNCG up 11-4 run, Samford was able to slow the Spartans down and cut the lead to 13-11 on a Lydia McGee jumper with 0:55 remaining in the quarter. Over the last 0:40 of play, Mangela Ngandjui (Upper Marlboro, Md./Riverdale Baptist) hit a free throw and a jumper with 0:03 left to put the Spartans back up by five.
UNCG stretched its lead out to nine to start the second quarter, following layups by Alexis Pitchford (Orlando, Fla./Winter Park) and Harris. The Bulldogs were able to cut the Spartan lead down to one with 1:50 remaining in the first half. Katie Allen hit a 3-pointer, Samford got a defensive stop and Allen came down and hit another layup to trim the Spartan advantage. UNCG hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to put UNCG up seven with 0:45 remaining. Brittany Stevens hit a free throw with 0:12 left in the second quarter to cut UNCG’s halftime lead to 30-24.
UNCG opened the third quarter on an 8-2 run before Samford could slow UNCG down. Lydia McGee converted a conventional 3-point play before Allen hit a layup to cut the Spartan lead to eight. Soliman hit a 3-point shot with 2:47 on the clock to extend the lead back to 42-30 in favor of the Spartans. Following a Hannah Nichols free throw, Soliman hit a layup with 0:10 left, and blocked a Samford shot at the buzzer to give UNCG a 46-33 lead headed to the final quarter.
The Blue and Gold made their final run with 4:25 left in the game. After a layup from Twitty pushed the lead to 18, back-to-back Williams 3-pointers extended the lead to 24 before Soliman added a layup to give UNCG its largest lead of the evening at 26. Charity Brown hit a layup with 0:44 left to cut the deficit to 24.
UNCG returns to action Thursday, January 19, as it travels to Johnson City, Tenn. for a matchup with the ETSU Bucs at 7:00 p.m.