Spartans knock off SoCons hottest team, down Samford 49-37
GREENSBORO, NC – Lakiah Hyson scored a game-high 13 points, Monique Floyd scored all 11 of her points in the final 8:29 and UNC Greensboro finished the game on a 23-4 run as the Spartans knocked off Southern Conference co-leader Samford on Monday, 49-37.
The Spartans (8-15, 5-9 SoCon) cooled off the hottest team in the league, snapping the Bulldogs' 12-game conference winning streak and 11-game overall winning streak. Samford (17-4, 12-2) entered the contest tied atop the league standings with Chattanooga. With the victory, UNCG surpassed its overall and league win totals from last season.
Hyson finished just one rebound shy of her first career double-double, while senior Gini Grimsley had a game-high 10 rebounds and was just two points from her own double-double with eight. But it was Floyd that stole the show late, nearly single-handedly rallying UNCG to the win.
"Tonight, we made Mo the go-to," said UNCG coach Lynne Agee, who picked up a win in her 800th game at the helm for the Spartans. "Mo's only a sophomore, thank heavens, but we made her the go-to, and she's clutch. She has such great intensity and makes real good decisions. If she doesn't have anything, she's not going to take it, and she knows when she can go. We called a couple of plays for her right there, and she finished them, thank goodness. That put us up and gave us a little breathing room."
The Bulldogs put three players in double figures, as Savannah Hill scored 11 points and Chika Okoli and Emily London had 10 each.
The Spartans have now held Samford to its two lowest-scoring games of the season, avenging a 44-41 loss to the Bulldogs in Birmingham, AL, on Dec. 29. Samford's 13 second-half points and 25.4 percent shooting for the game were also season lows.
Hill's 3-pointer with 10:52 to play put Samford up 33-26, seemingly getting the Bulldogs back in control after UNCG briefly tied it at 26 on a pair of Amanda Leigh free throws.
Grimsley answered Hill's triple with a jumper to cut the lead to five points, and then Floyd took over. Her jumper with 8:29 to play was her first basket of the day, and after an Agne Girstautaite layup drew the Spartans within one at 33-32, Floyd scored on a driving layup after a Samford shot clock violation to give UNCG its first lead of the day, 34-32 with 5:50 to go.
Another Samford turnover led to another Floyd jumper, and her steal on the next play set the stage for Agneta Morkunaite's driving layup, which stretched the lead to five at 38-33.
After a Hyson free throw, Floyd hit a jumper from the left wing to push the UNCG lead to eight points, and yet another Samford turnover led to a Floyd layup that capped a 17-0 run and put the Spartans up by 10 at 43-33 with 2:59 to play.
"I just wanted to be aggressive and get to the basket and help my team win," Floyd said. "Their offense is very unusual to defend, so it took me a while to get into the offensive flow. But once I did, it went well."
With just under two minutes to play, London grabbed a long UNCG rebound and raced the other way for a fastbreak bucket for the first Bulldog points in more than nine minutes. Okoli's layup on a backdoor cut with 49.6 to play accounted for Samford's only points the rest of the way.
Samford looked like it might run away with this one in the first half, methodically opening up a nine-point lead with 8:27 to play in the first half. The Bulldogs still led by nine with 3:28 before halftime, but freshman Jazz Weaver's jumper kicked off a quick 9-0 UNCG run that saw Hyson tie the game on a 3 with 32 seconds left before the break. Hill hit a pair of free throws with 3.9 seconds left to give the visitors' a 24-22 advantage at intermission.
The Bulldogs, who entered the game second in the nation in turnovers per game at 12.2, finished below their average with 12 on the game, but had six in UNCG's decisive 17-0 spurt.
UNCG turned the ball over just eight times, its lowest total since having just eight against Western Carolina on Jan. 15, 2005. The Spartans had just nine turnovers at Samford on Dec. 29, the only other time this season UNCG has had fewer than 10.
The Spartans also turned in a solid effort on the glass, out-rebounding the Bulldogs 48-41. UNCG also held Samford to just 10.7 percent shooting from behind the 3-point arc, as the Bulldogs were just 3-for-28.
Girstautaite had a career-best three steals and had two blocks, moving her into sole possession of third place on UNCG's single-season list with 32 and into sole possession of sixth on the Spartans' career list with 52.
"We'll take that victory any time," Agee said. "The other day, we talked about the second game of these road trips. The second game is tough when you're out four days, and it's real hard to get that game. We played them in a man-to-man down there (in Birmingham) and held them to 41 until right at the buzzer. I really thought we could take away their rhythm with a zone, but we had to spread it way out. We did it, we contested. We managed to contest the majority of their shots, and we rebounded great tonight. We haven't been doing as well on the boards, but we really handled it tonight."
UNCG has a week to savor its big win before hitting the road to face Davidson at 7 p.m. on Feb. 9. The Wildcats took a 61-55 win over the Spartans in overtime on Jan. 5 in Greensboro.
UNC GREENSBORO 49, SAMFORD 37
SAMFORD (17-4, 12-2 SoCon)
Savannah Hill 4-13 2-4 11; Chika Okoli 4-9 2-3 10; Emily London 5-12 0-0 10; Paige Anderson 2-5 0-0 6; Jazmine Powers 0-2 0-0 0; Alex Crow 0-0 0-0 0; Karmen Smith 0-7 0-0 0; Jessica Roden 0-1 0-0 0; Megan Wilderotter 0-4 0-0 0; Monica Maxwell 0-6 0-0 0. Totals 15-59 4-7 37.
UNC GREENSBORO (8-15, 5-9 SoCon)
Lakiah Hyson 3-10 6-8 13; Monique Floyd 5-11 1-3 11; Gini Grimsley 3-12 2-2 8; Agne Girstautaite 3-6 0-2 6; Amanda Leigh 1-6 2-4 5; Agneta Morkunaite 2-2 0-1 4; Jazz Weaver 1-5 0-0 2; TaShama Banner 0-1 0-0 0; Ashley Mullins 0-1 0-0 0; Sarah Folwell 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 18-56 11-20 49.
13 - 37
UNC Greensboro................ 22 27 - 49
3-point goals--Samford 3-28 (Paige Anderson 2-4; Savannah Hill 1-4; Emily London 0-6; Jazmine Powers 0-1; Karmen Smith 0-4; Megan Wilderotter 0-3; Monica Maxwell 0-5; Chika Okoli 0-1), UNC Greensboro 2-6 (Lakiah Hyson 1-2; Amanda Leigh 1-2; Gini Grimsley 0-1; Sarah Folwell 0-1). Fouled out--Samford-None, UNC Greensboro-None. Rebounds--Samford 41 (Savannah Hill 7), UNC Greensboro 48 (Gini Grimsley 10). Assists--Samford 7 (Megan Wilderotter 4), UNC Greensboro 7 (Lakiah Hyson 3). Total fouls--Samford 15, UNC Greensboro 8. Technical fouls--Samford-None, UNC Greensboro-None. A-169
- UNCG -