GREENSBORO, NC – Lakiah Hyson hit six free throws in the final 42.1 seconds and UNC Greensboro put all five starters in double figures as the Spartans rallied to beat backyard rival High Point on Monday, 74-69 in their home opener.
Monique Floyd (15), Ashley Mullins (12) and Gini Grimsley (10) and Agne Girstautaite (10) all reached double digits, but it was Hyson and her 19 points that stole the show.
With the Spartans (1-3) trailing 69-68, Hyson went to the line for a one-and-one. The junior guard calmly sank both attempts, putting UNCG back on top for the ninth and final time in a game that featured 17 lead changes.
Frances Fields missed a jumper that would have put the Panthers (1-3) back on top and Jurica Hargaves fouled Hyson, putting her back on the free throw line for another one-and-one with 19.2 seconds to go. She again drilled both to put the Spartans up by three.
High Point brought the ball up the court with a chance to tie it, but Grimsley came up with a big steal and Hyson wound up with the ball. The Panthers had no choice but to foul, and with the Spartans in the double bonus, Hyson again hit both of her attempts.
The game was a thriller from the opening tip, as UNCG roared out to a 27-11 lead less than 10 minutes into the game. Mullins made the most of her first career start, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers in the opening minutes and adding a jumper and a steal that led to her own breakaway layup in the run.
The Panthers would creep back into it, however, as they finished the half on a 29-11 run – capped by Fields' long, buzzer-beating 3-pointer – to take a two-point lead into the locker room, 40-38.
A Floyd jumper on the Spartans' first possession of the second half tied it at 40, but the teams would trade buckets over the next several minutes before a pair of Hyson free throws and a Grimsley three-point play gave UNCG a five-point advantage at 56-51.
The Panthers were far from done, as a Fields 3-pointer ignited a 16-4 run that appeared to put High Point in control with a 67-60 lead with 6:34 to play.
UNCG again had an answer, with Floyd hitting a pair of free throws and Mullins hitting a jumper to cut it to three. Hyson found Grimsley underneath for a layup to cut it to one, and Hyson gave the Spartans a 68-67 lead with 4:09 to play.
A Mackenzie Maier jumper gave the Panthers their final lead of the day at 1:58, setting up Hyson's heroics.
Hyson, Floyd and Mullins all notched career highs in points on the evening, with Mullins matching her previous high with 10 points in the first half and Hyson eclipsing her previous high of 13 in the second half alone with 14. Girstautaite just missed her career best of 11, set at UNC Wilmington on Thursday.
Floyd put together an impressive stat line with seven rebounds and a career-best six assists on the evening. Hyson was one off her career high with six boards. Sophomore Amanda Leigh had six points, five rebounds and a career-best five assists.
"I'm so proud of the team," UNCG coach Lynne Agee said." I thought we really buckled down. We only had 14 turnovers, we scored 74 points – we did a great job. I think we ended up with five in double figures, so it was a well-played game for us on both ends of the floor."
The Spartans will host the UNCG Marriott Classic this weekend, taking on Florida Gulf Coast at 3 p.m. Friday and Bowling Green at 3 p.m. Saturday. Winston-Salem State and Bowling Green will square off at 1 p.m. Friday and FGCU and WSSU will play at 1 p.m. Saturday.
UNC GREENSBORO 74, HIGH POINT 69
HIGH POINT (1-3)
HARGRAVES, Jurica 9-18 1-2 22; MAIER, Mackenzie 6-12 2-2 16; FIELDS, Frances 3-6 2-2 10; BROWN, Shamia 3-6 1-4 7; McKOY, Tedcandra 1-5 3-4 5; TUCKER, Andrea 2-5 0-0 4; SAMUELS, Ashlee 1-4 1-4 3; DEAN, LaTeisha 1-3 0-0 2; DODD, Amy 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 26-61 10-18 69.
UNC GREENSBORO (1-3)
HYSON, Lakiah 5-8 8-8 19; FLOYD, Monique 5-8 5-5 15; MULLINS, Ashley 5-13 0-0 12; GRIMSLEY, Gini 4-13 1-1 10; GIRSTAUTAITE, Agne 5-8 0-7 10; LEIGH, Amanda 2-7 0-0 6; FOLWELL, Sarah 0-0 2-2 2; CORBETT, Dee 0-2 0-0 0; SMITH, Kendra 0-1 0-0 0; BANNER, TaShama 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-61 16-23 74.
High Point.................... 40
29 - 69
UNC Greensboro................ 38 36 - 74
3-point goals--High Point 7-18 (HARGRAVES, Jurica 3-7; FIELDS, Frances 2-2; MAIER, Mackenzie 2-6; DEAN, LaTeisha 0-1; DODD, Amy 0-2), UNC Greensboro 6-18 (MULLINS, Ashley 2-9; LEIGH, Amanda 2-5; GRIMSLEY, Gini 1-1; HYSON, Lakiah 1-2; BANNER, TaShama 0-1). Fouled out--High Point-None, UNC Greensboro-None. Rebounds--High Point 42 (HARGRAVES, Jurica 8), UNC Greensboro 37 (FLOYD, Monique 7). Assists--High Point 12 (FIELDS, Frances 6), UNC Greensboro 18 (FLOYD, Monique 6). Total fouls--High Point 18, UNC Greensboro 14. Technical fouls--High Point-None, UNC Greensboro-None. A-404
- UNCG -