CHATTANOOGA, TN – Gini Grimsley scored 18 points to lead four Spartans in double figures and No. 7 seed UNC Greensboro cruised into the second round of the Southern Conference Tournament with a 83-64 win over 10th-seeded Wofford on Thursday. UNCG will face No. 2 seed Samford on Friday at 9 a.m.
UNCG (13-17) also got 15 points from Lakiah Hyson, 13 from Monique Floyd and 12 from Ashley Mullins and led by as many as 25 in advancing to the quarterfinals for the fifth year in a row. The 83 points scored were a season high for the Spartans.
Wofford (5-24) also had four players in double digits, with Mahagony Williams leading the way with 15 – 14 of which came in the second half – and 10 rebounds. Natalie Gramblin had 12 points, while Kate Dempsey had 11 and Maddie Helms 10.
After a slow start by both sides, UNCG's offense roared to life after the first media timeout. The Spartans turned an 8-3 lead into a 25-point bulge over the next nine minutes, rattling off a 29-7 run after the Terriers had cut it to three on a Kathryn Varno layup with just over 15 minutes to play.
Mullins got the run going with her first 3-pointer of the day and Grimsley hit all three of her triples on the day in the spurt to put UNCG comfortably on top.
Wofford would keep the game from getting out of control, however, ending the first half on a 12-2 run to cut the lead to 15 at the break. Helms had five points in the Wofford run, getting it started with a 3-pointer as Wofford trailed just 39-24 at halftime.
The Terriers kept cutting into UNCG's lead after the break, as Gramblin scored seven of Wofford's first nine points after intermission to make it a 10-point affair at 43-33 with 16:23 to play.
UNCG pumped its lead back up to 18, but Wofford had another run in it, getting eight straight points from Williams in trimming the lead back to 10 at 63-53 with 6:18 left on the clock.
That seemed to be spark the Spartans needed, as TaShama Banner's off-balance, scoop layup swung the momentum back UNCG's way and started another big run. Grimsley, Amanda Leigh, Floyd and Mullins all hit a pair of free throws and Hyson hit a free throw and a 3 as the Spartans got the lead back up to 21 at 77-56.
Wofford would creep back to within 15, but UNCG would extend the lead at the free throw line for the final margin.
The Spartans had a solid second half at the free throw line, going 21-for-27 to help put the game away. For the game, UNCG was 23-for-35 at the foul line, with the 35 attempts a season high.
With Hyson and fellow starter Agne Girstautaite in foul trouble for much of the day – both finished with four – UNCG got solid contributions off the bench. The 12 points from Mullins marked the fourth time she had reached double digits this season, while Banner chipped in with eight points and four steals.
The Spartans won the battle of the boards, 48-41, and forced 24 Wofford turnovers on the evening.
"We settled down a little bit," UNCG head coach Lynne Agee said. "We got a little wild in there and went for several minutes without scoring. I thought we played a pretty good defensive game for the most part. They're great 3-point shooters. We just tried to mix it up.
"I feel pretty good about the performance. I thought we played hard and I thought we shared the basketball well."
The win completed a three-game season sweep over the Terriers for UNCG, who won each game by at least 12.
Up next for the Spartans is second-seeded Samford, with whom UNCG split this season. Both teams won on their home floor. As this is the Bulldogs' first season in the SoCon, the teams have never met in the league tournament.
UNC GREENSBORO 83, WOFFORD 64
Mahagony Williams 5-6 5-8 15; Natalie Gramblin 5-14 0-1 12; Maddie Helms 3-7 2-2 11; Kate Dempsey 3-6 4-5 10; Liz Miller 2-9 0-2 5; Kathlyn Varno 2-2 1-2 5; Kelly Dwyer 2-6 0-0 5; Summer Nichols 0-3 1-3 1; April Moorhouse 0-1 0-0 0; Laura Depko 0-2 0-0 0; Kristin Bradley 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-57 13-23 64.
UNC GREENSBORO (13-17)
Gini Grimsley 4-12 7-9 18; Lakiah Hyson 6-9 1-2 15; Monique Floyd 4-5 5-7 13; Ashley Mullins 4-10 2-2 12; Tashama Banner 3-9 2-5 8; Agne Girstautaite 3-7 0-2 6; Amanda Leigh 1-6 3-4 5; Agneta Morkunaite 0-1 4-4 4; Kendra Smith 1-7 0-0 2; Dee Corbett 0-1 0-0 0; Sarah Folwell 0-1 0-0 0; Jazz Weaver 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-69 24-35 83.
40 - 64
UNC Greensboro................ 39 44 - 83
3-point goals--Wofford 7-24 (Maddie Helms 3-7; Natalie Gramblin 2-6; Liz Miller 1-5; Kelly Dwyer 1-4; Laura Depko 0-1; Kristin Bradley 0-1), UNC Greensboro 7-20 (Gini Grimsley 3-4; Lakiah Hyson 2-4; Ashley Mullins 2-6; Amanda Leigh 0-4; Sarah Folwell 0-1; Tashama Banner 0-1). Fouled out--Wofford-None, UNC Greensboro-None. Rebounds--Wofford 41 (Mahagony Williams 10), UNC Greensboro 48 (Lakiah Hyson 7). Assists--Wofford 15 (Maddie Helms 4), UNC Greensboro 9 (Monique Floyd 3). Total fouls—Wofford 24, UNC Greensboro 23. Technical fouls--Wofford-None, UNC Greensboro-None. 2009 Southern Conference Women's Basketball Championship Game 2
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