UNCG knocks off Samford for first SoCon win
For video of coach Wendy Palmer's postgame comments, click here.
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Natalie Headley scored a career-high 18 points and Jarae Savage and Dayshaun Richbow added 12 each as UNCG downed defending Southern Conference tournament champion Samford on Saturday, 61-53, on the day the Spartans dedicated Lynne Agee Court and honored their former coach.
UNCG improved to 2-4 overall and 1-1 in the SoCon. Samford fell to 4-3 overall and 0-1 in league play.
"The ladies came out and they played really well," UNCG coach Wendy Palmer said. "They were energetic. They really focused yesterday in practice, and they were on a mission. I'm very happy with them. The play of Natalie, Dayshaun when Breonna (Patterson) went out, and then Jazz (Weaver), who got her first start – a great total team effort."
Samford, which last year won a school-record 25 games and made an NCAA tournament appearance, was led in scoring by Paige Anderson with 13 points, while Taylor Reece had 12.
Headley scored 13 second-half points as UNCG never trailed after the break. She put the team on her back down the stretch, scoring nine points in a span of about six minutes after the Bulldogs trimmed an 11-point second-half lead down to just three at 43-40 with just under 10 minutes left.
Richbow took over from there, scoring UNCG's final six points in the last 1:09 to put the game on ice. Her jumper made it 57-50 with just over a minute to play before Anderson drained a 3-pointer from the wing to make it a two-possession game. Samford elected to put UNCG on the free throw line, but Richbow made the Bulldogs pay for that strategy, knocking down both ends of 1-and-1 opportunities on consecutive trips down the court for the final margin.
The teams traded the lead several times in the first half before Janae' Stevenson put UNCG on top for good with a layup that made it 22-20 with 6:40 to go before halftime. That bucket ignited a 7-0 run for the Spartans that put them up 27-20 at the break. UNCG held Samford scoreless for the last 8:03 of the frame.
UNCG kept up the defensive pressure to start the second half, stretching its lead to nine before a pair of Reece free throws gave Samford its first points in 10 minutes, 36 seconds of game time.
Headley and Savage answered with jumpers on back-to-back possessions to give UNCG its largest lead of the day at 33-22 before the Bulldogs made a run.
Anderson, Samford's leading scorer who was held without a point in the opening frame, finally found her rhythm, scoring six points in the Bulldogs' 8-0 run that made it 33-30 with 13:58 to go.
Consecutive baskets by Richbow put UNCG back up by seven, but Samford wouldn't go away. The Bulldogs got within three points four more times, the last on Reece's free throws that made it 53-50 with 4:26 left. Headley's final basket of the day made it a two-possession game with 2:40 to go and Samford would get no closer than four from there.
UNCG won the rebounding battle for the first time on the season, 34-27. Perhaps more impressively, the Spartans held Samford to just four offensive boards, in turning preventing the Bulldogs from scoring any second-chance points in the contest.
"Rebounding is something that we focus on every game," Palmer said. "Coming into this game against Samford, we knew that we needed to go into the post and score, but also, we needed to win the boards."
UNCG turned the ball over just eight times on the day, and Samford didn't score any points off the Spartans' few miscues. UNCG scored 12 points off 13 Bulldog turnovers.
Savage, a freshman, set new career highs in points and rebounds, sharing game-high honors with Richbow with seven boards. The 12 points and seven rebounds were both season highs for Richbow, as well.
Headley was nearly flawless on the day, going 7-for-8 from the floor and hitting both of her 3-point attempts. She was 2-for-3 from the free throw line, with her only miss coming with five seconds left in the game.
"Natalie has been kind of down in a slump," Palmer said. "She's been working hard in practice trying to get out of it, and to this point, it hadn't shown up in games. So, I was really excited. I saw a look in her eye, and she just went out there and she was relentless. She played with a lot of confidence and passion."
Starting point guard and leading scorer Breonna Patterson left the game after a hard collision after just six minutes and didn't return. Richbow played the remaining 34 minutes in her place.
Weaver played a career-high 24 minutes in her first start of the season and just missed double figures with a season-high nine points.
The big win came on a day in which Agee, UNCG's coach from 1981-2011, was honored at halftime and the court named in her honor was dedicated. She addressed the crowd with several friends, former players and former colleagues behind her. Several former Spartan players were on-hand for the event, as the contest also served as Alumnae Day.
UNCG returns to action Tuesday when it steps out of conference play to take on another team from Birmingham, Ala., UAB. The Spartans and Blazers are set for a 7 p.m. tip at Fleming Gymnasium.
UNCG 61, SAMFORD 53
SAMFORD (4-3, 0-1 SoCon)
Paige Anderson 3-6 6-6 13; Taylor Reece 5-10 2-2 12; Hannah Dawson 3-6 0-0 8; Christy Robinson 4-4 0-0 8; Kendall Schwantz 1-1 0-0 3; Shelby Campbell 1-8 0-0 3; Jazmine Powers 1-7 0-0 2; Ruth Ketcham 0-3 2-3 2; Jazmine Martin 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 19-46 10-11 53.
UNCG (2-4, 1-1 SoCon)
Natalie Headley 7-8 2-3 18; Jarae Savage 6-9 0-0 12; Dayshaun Richbow 4-13 4-4 12; Jazz Weaver 4-8 1-2 9; Janae' Stevenson 2-10 2-4 6; Nneka Awuruonye 0-4 2-2 2; Sidnei Harmon 1-5 0-0 2; Breonna Patterson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 24-59 11-15 61.
Samford....................... 20 33 - 53
UNCG.......................... 27 34 - 61
3-point goals--Samford 5-11 (Hannah Dawson 2-4; Paige Anderson 1-3; Shelby Campbell 1-3; Kendall Schwantz 1-1), UNCG 2-3 (Natalie Headley 2-2; Jarae Savage 0-1). Fouled out--Samford-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds--Samford 27 (Taylor Reece 6), UNCG 34 (Jarae Savage 7; Dayshaun Richbow 7). Assists--Samford 13 (Jazmine Powers 5), UNCG 8 (Sidnei Harmon 2; Janae' Stevenson 2; Dayshaun Richbow 2). Total fouls--Samford 15, UNCG 11. Technical fouls--Samford-None, UNCG-None. A-306
- UNCG -