CHARLESTON, S.C. – Lakiah Hyson scored a game-high 14 points and Amanda Leigh turned in a personal 11-0 run as UNC Greensboro cut a 24-point second-half deficit to single digits, but the College of Charleston salted away the game at the free throw line to take the Southern Conference opener for both teams, 71-60 on Saturday.
Leigh finished with 13 points, while Monique Floyd and Kendra Smith were also in double digits with 10 points for UNCG (1-6, 0-1 SoCon). College of Charleston (5-3, 1-0 SoCon) also had three players with at least 10, with Brooke Kotcella and Tonia Gerty scoring 13 each for the Cougars and Ericka Williams adding 12. Williams also had 10 rebounds for the game's only double-double.
With UNCG trailing 55-31 with 9:12 left to play, Leigh struck from the wing for the Spartans' first 3-pointer of the game. That seemed to take the lid off the rim, as the Spartans – who started the game 0-for-12 from beyond the arc – canned six of their last seven 3-point tries in the final 8:47 of play.
A CofC turnover led to another Leigh triple from nearly the same spot, and Leigh came up with a steal on the Cougars' next possession that led to her third straight 3, this time from the top of the key.
After a couple of scoreless possessions for both teams, Leigh hit a jumper just inches inside the arc to cap her own 11-0 run, making the score 55-42 with 5:55 to play.
A Gerty jumper and a pair of Jade Hughes free throws got College of Charleston back up by 17, but Hyson turned in a three-point play and Smith hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 12.
CofC answered with a pair of Deidra Jones free throws, but Smith and Hyson hit back-to-back 3s – both assisted by Leigh – to get the scrappy Spartans back within eight at 61-53 with 3:31 to play. Hyson's triple capped a 19-6 UNCG run.
The deficit would not get any smaller for UNCG, however, as Kotcella nailed a 3 of her own to push CofC back up by 11. UNCG would twice get back within eight points late, but College of Charleston went 7-for-8 from the free throw line in the last three minutes to put the game away.
The Spartans were playing from behind all game, as College of Charleston led wire-to-wire. The Cougars bolted out to a 13-2 first-half lead, with Gerty scoring five points in the opening stretch.
College of Charleston got a solid performance from its bench, as the Cougars' reserves outscored UNCG's 28-8.
UNCG coach Lynne Agee tinkered with her lineup for the first time on the season, starting redshirt freshman Amy Clapper in place of Agne Girstautaite. Clapper responded to her first career start with five points and a career-high five rebounds.
The Spartans also mixed up the starters in the second half, with Dayshaun Richbow and Sarah Folwell starting in place of Leigh and Smith. That seemed to be the wake-up call Leigh needed, as she went off for her big spurt less than two minutes after checking in for the first time after the break.
UNCG returns to action on Dec. 12, when it steps away from SoCon play to force Fordham in Bronx, N.Y. Game time is set for 1 p.m.
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON 71, UNC GREENSBORO 60
UNC GREENSBORO (1-6, 0-1 SoCon) Lakiah Hyson 5-13 3-5 14; Amanda Leigh 5-9 0-0 13; Kendra Smith 3-8 2-2 10; Monique Floyd 3-8 4-4 10; Amy Clapper 1-6 3-5 5; Dayshaun Richbow 2-3 0-1 4; Brey Dorsett 1-6 0-0 2; Agne Girstautaite 1-6 0-0 2; Sidnei Harmon 0-2 0-0 0; TaShama Banner 0-1 0-0 0; Sarah Folwell 0-2 0-0 0; Jazz Weaver 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 21-69 12-17 60.
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (5-3, 1-0 SoCon)
Tonia Gerty 5-6 2-3 13; Brooke Kotcella 3-8 6-7 13; Ericka Williams 4-6 3-3 12; Megan King 2-3 3-4 9; Jade Hughes 0-5 6-6 6; Deidra Jones 2-9 2-2 6; Indya Mudd 2-4 0-0 5; Ariel Hatcher 1-3 1-2 3; Caleigh Crowell 1-3 0-0 2; Latisha Harris 1-3 0-0 2; NeShonda McLaurin 0-0 0-0 0; Brianna Davie 0-1 0-0 0; Taylor Mims 0-0 0-0 0; Megan Fischer 0-1 0-0 0; Cathryn Hardy 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-52 23-27 71.
UNC Greensboro 20 40 60
College of Charleston 40 31 71
3-point goals--UNC Greensboro 6-19 (Amanda Leigh 3-6; Kendra Smith 2-4; Lakiah Hyson 1-5; Brey Dorsett 0-2; TaShama Banner 0-1; Amy Clapper 0-1), College of Charleston 6-17 (Megan King 2-2; Ericka Williams 1-2; Brooke Kotcella 1-4; Tonia Gerty 1-2; Indya Mudd 1-2; Caleigh Crowell 0-2; Jade Hughes 0-3). Fouled out--UNC Greensboro-None, College of Charleston-None. Rebounds--UNC Greensboro 41 (Lakiah Hyson 6), College of Charleston 46 (Ericka Williams 10). Assists--UNC Greensboro 11 (Lakiah Hyson 2; Amanda Leigh 2; Dayshaun Richbow 2; Jazz Weaver 2), College of Charleston 12 (Tonia Gerty 5). Total fouls--UNC Greensboro 21, College of Charleston 18. Technical fouls--UNC Greensboro-None, College of Charleston-None. A-237
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