Grimsley powers Spartans past College of Charleston
GREENSBORO, NC – Senior Gini Grimsley erupted for a career-high 24 points and UNC Greensboro shot a scorching 61.3 percent in the second half as the Spartans downed College of Charleston on Saturday to move to 2-0 in the Southern Conference.
Grimsley had an incredible shooting day, going 10-for-13 overall (76.9 percent) and a perfect 4-for-4 on 3-point tries. She also pulled down seven rebounds.
Sophomore TaShama Banner also turned in a new career high, scoring 10 points off the bench for the Spartans (3-5, 2-0 SoCon).
Brooke Kotcella led the Cougars (5-2, 0-1 SoCon) with 11 points, while Tonia Gerty and Jade Hughes had 10 each.
The Spartans held the Cougars to just 16.1-percent shooting in the first half, as College of Charleston went 5-of-31 in the opening frame. Even with the Cougars ice cold from the field, UNCG led just 23-21 at the half after a pair of free throws each from Sarah Moye and Hughes closed the gap from six with less than a minute to play.
UNCG came out on fire in the second half, starting on a 12-3 run. Monique Floyd got the scoring started with a layup to push the lead to four. Kotcella countered with a 3-pointer, but Floyd answered with another layup to make it a three-point game.
Grimsley then converted consecutive Cougar turnovers into back-to-back 3-pointers just 18 seconds apart to push the UNCG lead to nine at 33-24.
Floyd grabbed the rebound on the Cougars' next possession and raced to the other end for a fastbreak layup to push the UNCG lead into double figures at 35-24 and cap the run.
Nikki Williams' jumper pulled CofC back within nine, but Floyd continued her second-half layup assault, converting an offensive rebound into another quick two points to put the in double digits to stay. All eight of Floyd's points on the day came in the first six minutes of the second half.
UNCG stretched its lead to 16 at 45-29 before Deidra Jones hit a jumper and Williams knocked down a 3-pointer to bring it back to 11 at 45-34 with 8:34 to play.
The Spartans answered, with Kendra Smith hitting a turnaround jumper and Grimsley hitting a jump shot of her own to get it back to a 15-point bulge.
Grimsley would add another pair of 3s – sandwiched around buckets from College of Charleston – to put UNCG up 16 with 5:50 to play. The Spartans' lead swelled to 19 at 65-46 on yet another bucket from Grimsley with 2:12 left to play.
UNCG finished the second half 19-of-31 from the field, with Grimsley going 7-for-8 after intermission.
"I was just glad I could finally knock down some shots," Grimsley said. "The last couple of games, I've been struggling, and today I was just about to find the basket. It started in the first half, I got some rebounds and that led to some stickbacks around the basket. And then, the second half, I don't know what happened. Everything was going in."
UNCG forced 21 CofC turnovers on the afternoon, converting them into 31 points. The Spartans also dominated the paint – holding a 34-12 advantage there – despite being outrebounded by the Cougars, 38-33, and grabbing only 12 offensive boards.
The Cougars' frustration was evident late in the game as Banner grabbed a steal after a fastbreak layup and was going up for another when Hughes was whistled for an intentional foul after sending Banner crashing hard to the ground. Banner knocked down both free throws to match her career high, then added another layup less than a minute later to secure her personal-best point total.
The day belonged to Grimsley, however, who followed up her first career double-double on Tuesday by more than doubling her previous season high of 10 points. Her four 3-pointers give her 83 for her career, moving her from ninth into a tie for seventh on UNCG's career list.
"Gini had a terrific day, no question about it," UNCG coach Lynne Agee said. "We're really playing fairly well together. We need to keep learning, but today was just an outstanding performance all the way around."
The win moved UNCG to 2-0 in the SoCon for the first time since the 2001-02 season, when the Spartans opened league play with three straight wins, over Appalachian State, Furman and Wofford.
UNCG will have a week off from competition for final exams before taking a break from conference play to host Fordham on Dec. 13. Opening tip is set for 1 p.m. in Fleming Gym.
UNC GREENSBORO 70, COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON 55
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (5-2, 0-1 SoCon)
KOTCELLA, Brooke 3-10 3-4 11; GERTY, Tonia 2-6 5-6 10; HUGHES, Jade 3-7 2-2 10; WILLIAMS, Nikki 3-10 2-2 9; MOYE, Sarah 2-7 2-2 6; JONES, Deidra 2-5 0-0 4; HATCHER, Ariel 1-1 0-0 2; KING, Megan 1-2 0-0 2; WILLIAMS, Ericka 0-6 1-2 1; McLAURIN, NeShonda 0-0 0-0 0; WARNER, Jayme 0-0 0-0 0; MUDD, Indya 0-0 0-0 0; DAVIE, Brianna 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-54 15-18 55.
UNC GREENSBORO (3-5, 2-0 SoCon)
Gini Grimsley 10-13 0-1 24; TaShama Banner 4-8 2-2 10; Lakiah Hyson 3-9 2-2 8; Monique Floyd 4-8 0-0 8; Amanda Leigh 3-9 0-0 7; Agne Girstautaite 2-4 0-2 4; Ashley Mullins 2-4 0-0 4; Kendra Smith 1-3 0-0 2; Sarah Folwell 1-1 0-0 2; Jazz Weaver 0-1 1-2 1; Dee Corbett 0-0 0-0 0; Agneta Morkunaite 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-61 5-9 70.
College of Charleston......... 21
34 - 55
UNC Greensboro................ 23 47 - 70
3-point goals--College of Charleston 6-16 (HUGHES, Jade 2-4; KOTCELLA, Brooke 2-5; WILLIAMS, Nikki 1-2; GERTY, Tonia 1-3; WILLIAMS, Ericka 0-2), UNC Greensboro 5-14 (Gini Grimsley 4-4; Amanda Leigh 1-5; Lakiah Hyson 0-1; Ashley Mullins 0-1; Kendra Smith 0-1; Agneta Morkunaite 0-1; TaShama Banner 0-1). Fouled out--College of Charleston-None, UNC Greensboro-None. Rebounds--College of Charleston 38 (MOYE, Sarah 11), UNC Greensboro 33 (Gini Grimsley 7). Assists--College of Charleston 10 (HUGHES, Jade 2; WILLIAMS, Nikki 2; MOYE, Sarah 2; KOTCELLA, Brooke 2), UNC Greensboro 12 (Lakiah Hyson 3). Total fouls--College of Charleston 11, UNC Greensboro 16. Technical fouls--College of Charleston-None, UNC Greensboro-None. A-568
- UNCG -