BOONE, NC – UNC Greensboro put four in double figures and staged another late comeback, but it was not enough to overcome an 11-point halftime deficit as Appalachian State topped the Spartans on Monday, 73-68 in Southern Conference action.
Amanda Leigh (13), Monique Floyd (12), Gini Grimsley (10) and TaShama Banner (10) led a balanced UNCG attack, while Kendra Smith added eight. After coming off the bench in the first half, Banner and Smith started the second, both scoring all of their points after intermission.
Appalachian State (3-12, 2-5 SoCon) countered with four players of its own in double digits, led by Canesha Edwards' game- and career-high 18 points. Sam Ramirez had 16, while Brittany Mixon and Brittney Spencer had 14 each for the Mountaineers. Edwards and Ramirez had double-doubles with 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively.
Bannner's 10 points matched her career high, while she added a career-best seven steals in the game.
UNCG (6-11, 3-5 SoCon) trailed 37-26 at the half and by as many as 13 early in the second frame, but put together a 15-7 run midway through to tie it at 53. Smith got things started with a jumper and Banner followed with a steal and a fastbreak layup to make it a four-point UNCG deficit at 46-42 with 10:14 left. Ramirez hit a 3-pointer to stretch it back to seven before Smith hit a layup and Leigh hit a 3 to close to within two.
Mixon and Banner then traded buckets twice before Leigh went to the free throw line with a chance to tie it. Leigh did just that, sinking both shots to make it 53-all with 6:06 to play.
The teams then traded turnovers, with Edwards coming up with a steal and a layup to put App back on top to stay. The home squad would stretch its lead back up to seven at 67-60 on a pair of Spencer free throws with 30 seconds to play, but the Spartans would make it interesting.
A Grimsley 3 with 23 seconds left trimmed the ASU lead to four before Edwards sank a pair of free throws to make it 71-65. On the other end, UNCG's Lakiah Hyson was fouled on a 3-point attempt and netted all three freebies to make it a three-point spread at 71-68 with 16 ticks left on the clock.
Banner came up with a steal on the ensuing Appalachian State possession, but was fouled on the layup attempt and missed both free throws. The Spartans got the offensive rebound, but turned the ball over and were forced to foul to stop the clock. Spencer hit both attempts with seven seconds left to ice the game.
The Spartans led 18-10 about midway through the first half, as
Grimsley had seven points in 14-6 run that gave UNCG its biggest
lead of the day. The Mountaineers found their offense, however, as
Sade Means had consecutive buckets in a 9-0 run that put App ahead
for the first time since holding a 2-0 advantage.
The squads would trade points for the next few minutes, with Ashley Mullins' 3 tying the game at 25 with 3:43 left in the opening frame. Appalachian State then rattled off a 12-1 run to take control going into halftime.
The Spartans had 14 steals and forced 23 Appalachian State turnovers, but struggled once again the free throw line, going just 16-for-26 (61.5 percent). UNCG came into the game shooting 60.1 percent from the line.
App dominated the boards, holding a 48-33 advantage. UNCG won the battle on the offensive end, 19-16, but saw ASU grab 32 defensive boards to just 14 for the Spartans.
Sophomore Agne Girstautaite continued her march up UNCG's blocked shots charts with one more Monday night, giving her 24 this season and 44 for her career. She moved into a tie for seventh on UNCG's single-season chart and into a tie for eighth on the career list.
The Spartans, who started SoCon play 3-0, have dropped their last five in conference play and last six overall. The last three losses have all been close ones, as UNCG fell to Davidson and Furman in overtime – after rallying late to force OT against the Paladins – before its latest single-digit loss. The Spartans are now 3-6 in games decided by 10 points or fewer, and 2-5 in games decided by five points or fewer.
UNCG will try to get back into the win column on Saturday, when it will face Western Carolina in Cullowhee, NC, at 4 p.m.
APPALACHIAN STATE 73, UNC GREENSBORO 68
UNC GREENSBORO (6-11, 3-5 SoCon)
Amanda Leigh 3-10 4-4 13; Monique Floyd 5-12 2-2 12; Gini Grimsley 4-12 0-0 10; TaShama Banner 4-9 2-7 10; Kendra Smith 4-10 0-0 8; Agne Girstautaite 1-4 4-6 6; Lakiah Hyson 1-6 3-3 5; Ashley Mullins 1-2 1-2 4; Dee Corbett 0-2 0-2 0; Sarah Folwell 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 23-70 16-26 68.
APPALACHIAN STATE (3-12, 2-5 SoCon)
Canesha Edwards 6-6 6-8 18; Sam Ramirez 5-12 2-2 16; Brittney Spencer 3-7 8-11 14; Brittany Mixon 5-9 4-6 14; Karina Mill 3-3 0-1 6; Sade Means 2-3 0-2 4; Charmene Means 0-7 1-2 1; Haley Hackett 0-0 0-0 0; Catherine Williams 0-2 0-0 0; Frances Hernandez 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-50 21-32 73.
UNC Greensboro................ 26
42 - 68
Appalachian State............. 37 36 - 73
3-point goals--UNC Greensboro 6-21 (Amanda Leigh 3-10; Gini
Grimsley 2-6; Ashley Mullins 1-1; Lakiah Hyson 0-3; Sarah Folwell
0-1), Appalachian State 4-10 (Sam Ramirez 4-9; Sade Means 0-1).
Fouled out--UNC Greensboro-None, Appalachian State-Canesha Edwards.
Rebounds--UNC Greensboro 33 (Gini Grimsley 8), Appalachian State 48
(Canesha Edwards 11). Assists—UNC Greensboro 15 (Kendra Smith
4; Amanda Leigh 4), Appalachian State 17 (Sam Ramirez 7). Total
fouls--UNC Greensboro 24, Appalachian State 21. Technical
fouls--UNC Greensboro-None, Appalachian State-None. A-1573
ASU 10: Edwards fouled out with 13.3 Sec Remaining
- UNCG -