Leighs 18 points send Spartans to fourth straight win, 3-0 in SoCon
GREENSBORO, NC – Sophomore Amanda Leigh scored a career-best 18 points and UNC Greensboro blew open a tight game in the second half to record its fourth straight win and stay perfect in Southern Conference play with a 71-53 win over Georgia Southern on Wednesday.
Gini Grimsley scored 11 points and Agne Girstautaite added 10 for the Spartans, who evened their record at 5-5 overall and went to 3-0 in SoCon play. Lakiah Hyson, Monique Floyd and TaShama Banner all just missed reaching double figures with nine points each.
Leigh scored 15 of her 18 points in the second half and was 4-for-7 from 3-point range for the game. She was also a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw line.
The Spartans bolted out of the gate with 10 straight points to open the game, and saw their lead swell to 19-6 with 6:33 left in the first half. Georgia Southern (6-4, 2-1 SoCon) finally found its offense after that, with Candice Ivy scoring five points in a 12-1 run that cut UNCG's lead to just two at 20-18. Banner got loose for a fastbreak layup to put the Spartans back up four heading into the break, but the Eagles had clearly swung the momentum.
That trend seemed to continue into the second half, as J'Lisia Oburn – who notched the game's only double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds – dropped in a layup to draw the Eagles within two just 30 seconds in.
That's when Girstautaite, who entered the game just 8-for-33 from the free throw line, gave the Spartans a big boost, knocking down a pair of foul shots to ignite a 13-5 run to get the UNCG lead back into double digits at 35-25 less than five minutes into the second frame.
After the teams traded buckets, Banner picked Jamie Navarro's pocket and took it the other way for another fastbreak layup to make it a 12-point bulge. Layups by Ivy and Girstautaite kept the lead at 12 before Ashley Melson's layup brought it back to 10.
Leigh then got a steal and a 3-pointer and Banner victimized Melson for another steal and breakaway bucket on the Eagles' next possession as UNCG pushed its lead to 15 at 46-31.
GSU would close it to 11 points with just over 10 minutes to play, but Girstautaite again sank a pair of free throws, and the rout was on. The Eagles got no closer than 12 the rest of the way.
Girstautaite and Floyd both scored all their points in the second half, with Floyd knifing through traffic in the lane for a pair of nifty layups after intermission. Leigh also heated up as the game wore on, scoring 12 of her points in the final seven minutes of action.
"The first half wasn't as good for me, and I knew I had to pick it up in the second half," Leigh said. "I only had three in the first and none of my shots were falling. I just had to pick up my own confidence.
"I have to keep shooting. If I stop shooting, then I take my own self out of the game. So I keep telling myself, 'I'm a shooter, and they'll eventually drop.'"
Georgia Southern easily won the battle of the boards, holding a 44-31 rebounding advantage, but the Spartans forced 24 turnovers and turned them into 25 points to more than compensate. The Spartans led wire-to-wire for the second straight game after also never trailing against Fordham on Saturday.
"We did not rebound well in the first half," UNCG coach Lynne Agee said. "They're very aggressive, very physical. They're obviously strong bodies. I was real disappointed at the half, so we kind of went after them at halftime and challenged our post game. I thought in the second half, we came out and did a much better job.
"Leigh obviously shot the lights out, so that helped, no question. I thought we were stronger in the paint, and I thought we did a real good job in our man-to-man defense."
The Spartans are 3-0 in SoCon play for the first time since starting the 2001-02 season with an identical record. The four-game overall win streak is the longest for UNCG since a six-game spurt from Feb. 3-19, 2007.
UNCG takes its final break from SoCon play this weekend at the Orange County Clash in Irvine, CA. There, the Spartans will face host UC Irvine on Sunday at 5 p.m. and will play either Illinois State or Western Michigan on Monday before returning to league action for the duration of the season.
UNC GREENSBORO 71, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 53
GEORGIA SOUTHERN (6-4, 2-1 SoCon)
J'Lisia Ogburn 7-15 2-2 16; Candice Ivy 4-7 1-1 9; Ashley Rivens 2-11 5-7 9; Ashley Melson 4-12 0-0 9; Jamie Navarro 2-4 2-2 8; Jessica Geiger 0-4 1-2 1; Krista Tate 0-4 1-4 1; Brittney Nelson 0-0 0-0 0; Samantha Williams 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-58 12-18 53.
UNC GREENSBORO (5-5, 3-0 SoCon)
Amanda Leigh 4-11 6-6 18; Gini Grimsley 5-8 1-3 11; Agne Girstautaite 3-9 4-4 10; Monique Floyd 4-7 1-2 9; TaShama Banner 3-6 3-6 9; Lakiah Hyson 1-6 6-6 9; Dee Corbett 1-1 1-2 3; Ashley Mullins 1-2 0-0 2; Kendra Smith 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 22-51 22-31 71.
Georgia Southern.............. 18
35 - 53
UNC Greensboro................ 22 49 - 71
3-point goals--Georgia Southern 3-14 (Jamie Navarro 2-4; Ashley Melson 1-4; Ashley Rivens 0-4; Krista Tate 0-1; Samantha Williams 0-1), UNC Greensboro 5-13 (Amanda Leigh 4-7; Lakiah Hyson 1-2; Ashley Mullins 0-1; Gini Grimsley 0-3). Fouled out--Georgia Southern-None, UNC Greensboro-None. Rebounds--Georgia Southern 44 (J'Lisia Ogburn 15), UNC Greensboro 31 (Monique Floyd 6). Assists--Georgia Southern 13 (Jamie Navarro 5), UNC Greensboro 12 (Monique Floyd 4). Total fouls--Georgia Southern 19, UNC Greensboro 18. Technical fouls--Georgia Southern-None, UNC Greensboro-None. A-120
- UNCG -