Leighs career day leads Spartans past Elon, 77-71
ELON, N.C. – UNC Greensboro's Amanda Leigh knocked down six 3-pointers on her way to a career-high 28 points and also grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds as the Spartans downed backyard rival Elon, 77-71, in Southern Conference women's basketball action at Alumni Gym on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, UNCG finished the regular season 9-19 overall, 6-14 in Southern Conference play. The Spartans will face Western Carolina as the No. 9 seed in next week's Southern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament, to be played in Charlotte, N.C. The Spartans will face the Catamounts at approximately 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
Elon dropped to 11-18, 6-14 in SoCon play. Western Carolina lost in overtime at Wofford on Saturday afternoon, creating a four-way tie at 6-14. Wofford is 5-1 against the tied teams, so it gains the No. 7 seed and will see 10th-seeded Elon in a first-round game. Western Carolina and UNCG were tied at 3-3 against the group and split with each other, so the Catamounts grabbed the eighth seed because of their split with top-seeded Chattanooga. UNCG was swept by the Lady Mocs, so the Spartans are the ninth seed. Elon was 1-5 against the group.
Leigh's six 3-pointers were one shy of the UNCG single-game record set by Micky Haywood at Campbell back on Feb. 13, 1993. The redshirt junior was 10-for-17 from the floor, including 6-for-11 from 3-point range.
Elon got 24 points from Ali Ford. Ford, who came into the game averaging 15.9 points per game, made her average by halftime with 17 points. But the Spartans did a better job against her for most of the second half, holding her to just two points in the first 14 minutes of the half.
Monique Floyd added 16 points off the bench for UNCG, going 5-for-5 from the floor and 6-of-7 at the free throw line. Lakiah Hyson added 10 points and Sarah Folwell chipped in with nine, including two key 3-pointers late in the game.
Elon was within a point, 65-64, with 3:24 to play after Tiffany Davis' 3-pointer. But Floyd scored on a drive to the basket and Folwell knocked down a 3-pointer with two minutes to go to extend the lead back to six. The Spartans then went 7-of-10 from the line in the final two minutes to record their first road win since Dec. 29. UNCG had lost seven straight on the road.
Leigh was a spark early for the Spartans, scoring 11 points in the first 10 minutes. Neither team got much separation for most of the opening half. Elon led by six a little over six minutes in, but UNCG came back to make it a one-possession game until a late Elon run.
Hyson's short jumper from the right baseline gave the Spartans their first lead, 27-25, with four minutes left before the break. But Elon responded with 10 straight points as part of a 14-4 run that closed out the first half and provided the Phoenix a 39-31 lead at the intermission.
UNCG cut the deficit to four a couple of times early in the second half, but the Phoenix seemed to have an answer and kept it from becoming a one-possession game. The Spartans broke through, however, with a 13-2 run, including 10 straight, to take a 56-52 lead.
A 3-pointer by Leigh to put her at 20 points on the day and a pair of Amy Clapper free throws got UNCG back to within a bucket finally, 50-48, with 10:30 to play. Another 3 by Leigh gave her a new career-high and a lead with 10 minutes to go that UNCG would not surrender.
Meanwhile, the Spartans were shutting down Ford. She had just two points in the second half before she converted a conventional three-point play with 5:19 to play to go, pulling Elon to within 59-57. But Leigh had an answer on the ensuing possession - her sixth 3-pointer of the day, this one from the right corner.
Elon cut it to one a couple of times down the stretch. But Folwell's 3-pointer from the left corner with two minutes to play sealed it for the Spartans, who swept their backyard rivals for the first time since 2006-07. UNCG has now won 19 of the last 24 meetings with the Phoenix.
UNC GREENSBORO 77, ELON 71
UNC GREENSBORO (9-19, 6-14 SoCon)
Amanda Leigh 10-17 2-2 28; Monique Floyd 5-5 6-7 16; Lakiah Hyson 3-13 4-7 10; Sarah Folwell 3-9 0-3 9; Agne Girstautaite 3-6 2-2 8; Kendra Smith 1-6 0-0 2; Brey Dorsett 1-3 0-0 2; Amy Clapper 0-3 2-2 2; Tashama Banner 0-1 0-0 0; Sidnei Harmon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-63 16-23 77.
ELON (11-18, 6-14SoCon)
Ali Ford 10-25 3-3 24; Kelsey Evans 5-9 3-4 13; Tiffany Davis 1-7 6-6 9; Urysla Cotton 3-8 2-4 8; Courtney Medley 2-6 2-2 8; Lei Lei Hairston 1-6 2-2 5; Tiara Gause 2-4 0-0 4; Lisa Archie 0-0 0-0 0; Aiesha Harper 0-1 0-0 0; Julie Taylor 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-67 18-21 71.
Halftime: Elon 39-31. 3-point goals--UNC Greensboro 9-24 (Amanda Leigh 6-11; Sarah Folwell 3-7; Lakiah Hyson 0-3; Kendra Smith 0-1; Brey Dorsett 0-1; Tashama Banner 0-1), Elon 5-22 (Courtney Medley 2-3; Tiffany Davis 1-4; Lei Lei Hairston 1-2; Ali Ford 1-11; Aiesha Harper 0-1; Julie Taylor 0-1). Fouled out-UNC Greensboro-Kendra Smith, Elon-None. Rebounds--UNC Greensboro 45 (Amanda Leigh 10), Elon 39 (Kelsey Evans 10). Assists--UNC Greensboro 11 (Monique Floyd 3; Lakiah Hyson 3), Elon 13 (Ali Ford 5). Total fouls--UNC Greensboro 17, Elon 17. Technical fouls--UNC Greensboro-None, Elon-None. A-542
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