No. 2 seed Samford eliminates seventh-seeded UNCG in SoCon quarters
CHATTANOOGA, TN – UNC Greensboro's 11-2 run late in the game trimmed a 16-point deficit down to seven, but the Spartans could not complete the comeback, falling to No. 2 seed Samford, 58-49, in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Tournament on Friday.
UNCG finishes the season with a 13-18 overall record and had a 9-11 mark in the SoCon to earn the league's seventh seed.
Senior Gini Grimsley scored 11 points in her final collegiate game, while Lakiah Hyson scored a team-high 13, hitting a career-best four 3-pointers. Both players finished with seven rebounds.
Chika Okoli scored a game-high 15 for Samford (22-6), which advances to face the winner of Saturday's Western Carolina/Elon game. Savannah Hill and Emily London had 12 points each for the Bulldogs.
A London 3-pointer gave Samford a 54-38 lead, its largest of the day, with 5:05 to play. But Hyson, Grimsley and Kendra Smith each hit 3-pointers and Monique Floyd hit a jumper in the 11-2 spurt that saw the Spartans cut it to 56-49 with 1:38 left on the clock.
With time winding down, UNCG was forced to foul to stop the clock, and half of the strategy paid off – Samford missed three of its five free throw attempts in the final three minutes. London had two of those misses, snapping her streak of 56 straight, and all three misses were the front ends of one-and-one opportunities.
But UNCG couldn't get shots to fall on the other end, with Grimsley, Hyson and Ashley Mullins all missing 3s in the final two minutes.
The Spartans went more than five minutes without a bucket in the second half, but Samford was only able to put six more points between the two to make it a 16-point game before UNCG made its run.
UNCG never led in the second half, but weathered an early Samford scoring binge to take the lead midway through the first half. After the Bulldogs jumped out to an 11-4 lead, the Spartans answered with a 15-4 run – capped by consecutive 3s from Hyson – to open up a four-point lead at 19-15 with 4:29 to play in the opening frame.
A London layup made it a one-possession game again, and Karmen Smith hit a pair of 3s in the last three minutes of the half as the Bulldogs took a 27-23 lead into the locker room.
UNCG won the rebounding battle for the second game in a row, holding a 39-32 advantage on the glass. The Spartans turned the ball over 15 times on the day, marking the first time in three games this season UNCG had more than nine against the Bulldogs.
Samford shot 44.2 percent from the field, including going 11-for-22 (50 percent) in the second half. UNCG was 19-for-55 from the field (34.5 percent) for the game.
The Spartans advanced to the quarterfinals for the fifth year in a row with an 83-64 win over Wofford on Thursday night. Less than 14 hours later, they were back on the court, playing Samford for a spot in the semifinals.
"I'm very proud of our team," UNCG head coach Lynne Agee said. "We are a very young basketball team. We have people that really stepped up this year. We had to develop our team from the beginning. The turnaround is very difficult. We came back last night from our first game exhausted, we expended a lot of energy. It's tournament time. We had to get dinner late, talked about Samford, went to bed and got up at 5:45 and talked about Samford. It's hard. We could have played better than we did today. We didn't do the little things well today that we normally do well."
SAMFORD 58, UNC GREENSBORO 49
UNC GREENSBORO (13-18/9-11 SoCon)
Lakiah Hyson 4-13 1-2 13; Gini Grimsley 5-13 0-0 11; Kendra Smith 3-8 0-0 7; Agne Girstautaite 2-3 2-4 6; Amanda Leigh 2-6 0-0 5; Ashley Mullins 1-3 0-0 3; Tashama Banner 1-4 0-0 2; Monique Floyd 1-4 0-0 2; Sarah Folwell 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-55 3-6 49.
SAMFORD (22-6/16-4 SoCon)
Chika Okoli 7-11 0-1 15; Emily London 3-11 4-6 12; Savannah Hill 6-10 0-0 12; Karmen Smith 3-6 0-0 8; Megan Wilderotter 2-5 1-3 7; Jazmine Powers 1-1 0-0 2; Monica Maxwell 1-6 0-0 2; Paige Anderson 0-1 0-0 0; J'Quita Babineaux 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-52 5-10 58.
UNC Greensboro................ 23
26 - 49
Samford....................... 27 31 - 58
3-point goals--UNC Greensboro 8-24 (Lakiah Hyson 4-7; Ashley Mullins 1-2; Gini Grimsley 1-8; Amanda Leigh 1-3; Kendra Smith 1-2; Monique Floyd 0-1; Tashama Banner 0-1), Samford 7-26 (Megan Wilderotter 2-4; Karmen Smith 2-5; Emily London 2-7; Chika Okoli 1-3; Paige Anderson 0-1; Monica Maxwell 0-4; Savannah Hill 0-2). Fouled out--UNC Greensboro-None, Samford-None. Rebounds--UNC Greensboro 39 (Lakiah Hyson 7; Gini Grimsley 7), Samford 32 (Chika Okoli 7). Assists--UNC Greensboro 12 (Monique Floyd 5), Samford 16 (Megan Wilderotter 4; Savannah Hill 4). Total fouls--UNC Greensboro 13, Samford 10. Technical fouls--UNC Greensboro-None, Samford-None. 2009 Southern Conference Women's Basketball Championship
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