GREENSBORO, NC – The Spartans closed regulation on a 24-7 run, including Amanda Leigh's 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left to force overtime, but Furman got the go-ahead jumper with 2.3 seconds left in the extra frame and added a pair of free throws to grab the road win at UNC Greensboro on Saturday, 66-63.
Monique Floyd's jumper with 6.8 seconds left in overtime put UNCG (6-10, 3-4 Southern Conference) on top 63-62 and sent the home crowd into a tizzy, but Furman's Lee Stephens – the SoCon's leading scorer – hit a midrange jumper off an inbounds play with 2.3 seconds left to put the Paladins up one with 2.3 seconds left. UNCG tried for the home run play off the inbounds from the baseline, but the ball never came in and went over to Furman.
The Spartans were forced to foul to stop the clock, and Sarah Baker knocked down both attempts for the final margin. Lakiah Hyson's halfcourt heave as time expired was off the mark as the Spartans were saddled with their second straight overtime loss.
Leigh finished with a career-high-tying 18 points for UNCG, while Liebschwager matched her with 18 of her own for Furman (9-7, 3-4 SoCon). Floyd finished with 12 for UNC Greensboro, while Gini Grimsley and Hyson were also in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Stephens finished with 13 for the Paladins and Katie Johnson added 10.
UNCG trailed by as many as 17 in the second half, as Stephens' free throw put the Paladins up 46-29 with 11:07 to play. But the Spartans' offense – which had suffered a pair of prolonged droughts already in the game – finally roared to life, with Grimsley hitting a jumper and a pair of free throws to ignite the game-tying run. Hyson's jumper made it a 46-35 contest before Liebschwager hit a pair of free throws with 5:39 to play to end a 5:28 Furman drought.
After Susan Troutman's jumper pushed the Paladins' lead back to 15, the Spartans again started chipping away. Grimsley hit a pair of free throws before consecutive layups from Floyd got UNCG back within single digits at 50-41.
The Spartans' run continued, as Agne Girstautaite and Floyd had layups before Grimsley's jumper off the glass made it a three-point game at 50-47 with 47.2 to play. A Shana Booker free throw made it a two-possession game again, but Leigh answered with the first of her two huge 3s in the final minute to draw UNCG within one at 51-50 with 25.2 seconds to play. Stephens hit a pair of three throws with 11.2 seconds left to force the Spartans go for the 3, and Leigh came up big again, hitting her tying triple with just 1.8 ticks left in regulation. Grimsley came up with a steal on Furman's inbounds play, but could not call timeout before the clock expired.
Overtime was just as exciting – the lead changed hands four times in the final 32 seconds – with UNCG overcoming a four-point Furman lead at 58-54 to reclaim the lead inside a minute to play. Floyd gave the Spartans their first lead of OT with 31.1 seconds left, taking advantage of Girstautaite's block of Liebschwager's shot and racing down for a fastbreak layup to make it 61-60. Liebschwager had the answer, however, hitting a jumper in the lane with 19.8 seconds left to put the Paladins back up by one.
Following a 30-second timeout, Floyd came up with another clutch jumper to give UNCG its last lead, but Stephens converted on the other end to send the Spartans to their second straight heartbreaking loss. UNCG also lost to league-leading Davidson in overtime, 61-55 on Monday.
The Spartans were sizzling from the field for the first 10 minutes of the game, getting a pair of Leigh 3-pointers in opening up a 16-6 lead with 11:29 to play. Liebschwager hit a 3 to draw Furman back within seven, but Hyson answered with a layup as UNCG held an 18-9 advantage with just over 10 minutes to play in the half.
That would be the Spartans' last bucket for quite a while, as the Paladins rattled off a 16-0 run over the next eight and a half minutes to take a 25-18 lead. Booker hit a layup and a 3 on consecutive Furman possessions to cap the run.
Leigh hit her third 3 of the half at the 1:11 mark to stop the run and end UNCG's 8:57 scoring drought. That brought the score to 25-21, where it stayed until the half.
The Spartans also had a scoring drought of 5:56 in the second half.
"That 16-0 run by them in the first half really took the wind out of our sails," UNCG coach Lynne Agee said. "We really had to muster it up to regroup and go hard again in the second half. We just don't have consistency. We can't get two people to step it up and score points game after game. We're really struggling with offense. Obviously, we can play defense with people, and I didn't think today was a good defensive day, myself."
UNCG will try to snap its season-worst five-game losing streak when it faces Appalachian State in Boone, NC, on Monday at 5 p.m.
FURMAN 66, UNC GREENSBORO 63
FURMAN (9-7, 3-4 SoCon)
M Liebschwager 6-13 2-2 18; Lee Stephens 4-12 3-4 13; Katie Johnson 3-8 4-5 10; Shana Booker 3-10 1-2 8; Sarah Baker 3-9 2-2 8; Kelly O'Connor 3-5 0-0 7; Susan Troutman 1-3 0-0 2; Mollie Petersen 0-1 0-0 0; Kendra Berry 0-0 0-0 0; Kali Holtfreter 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-63 12-15 66.
UNC GREENSBORO (6-10, 3-4 SoCon)
Amanda Leigh 6-14 1-2 18; Monique Floyd 6-14 0-3 12; Gini Grimsley 3-8 4-5 11; Lakiah Hyson 3-7 4-5 10; Agne Girstautaite 3-5 0-0 6; Dee Corbett 2-7 0-0 4; TaShama Banner 1-2 0-0 2; Kendra Smith 0-3 0-0 0; Ashley Mullins 0-3 0-0 0; Sarah Folwell 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 24-67 9-15 63.
28 13 - 66
UNC Greensboro................ 21 32 10 - 63
3-point goals--Furman 8-21 (M Liebschwager 4-7; Lee Stephens 2-5; Shana Booker 1-4; Kelly O'Connor 1-1; Kali Holtfreter 0-1; Sarah Baker 0-3), UNC Greensboro 6-17 (Amanda Leigh 5-10; Gini Grimsley 1-1; TaShama Banner 0-1; Ashley Mullins 0-3; Sarah Folwell 0-2). Fouled out--Furman-None, UNC Greensboro-None. Rebounds--Furman 49 (Sarah Baker 8; Katie Johnson 8), UNC Greensboro 39 (Dee Corbett 7). Assists--Furman 11 (Lee Stephens 4), UNC Greensboro 15 (Monique Floyd 6). Total fouls--Furman 14, UNC Greensboro 16. Technical fouls--Furman-None, UNC Greensboro-None. A-240
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