BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Freshman Brey Dorsett's 3-pointer from the corner tied the game at 51 with a minute remaining, but Samford hit three free throws in the last 35 seconds and Amanda Leigh's 3-point try missed at the buzzer as the Bulldogs escaped with a 54-51 win in Southern Conference women's basketball action on Saturday.
With UNCG (7-14, 4-9 SoCon) down three with just 2.4 seconds to go, the Spartans found Leigh on the inbounds pass. She took one dribble to her left and got a good look from the top of the key, but her shot was just off the mark as the Spartans dropped their fifth straight.
Samford (16-6, 10-3 SoCon) salvaged a season split with UNCG and won its fifth straight game overall.
After Dorsett's 3 tied the game for the first time on the day, Samford's Emily London was fouled on the other end of the floor. The SoCon's leading free throw shooter didn't disappoint the home crowd, knocking down both attempts to make it a 53-51 game.
UNCG had two chances to tie it on its next possession, as Kendra Smith's jumper missed, but Dorsett came up with the offensive rebound. After a Spartans timeout, Dorsett's driving layup attempt missed and Samford's Alex Crow came up with the ball.
Smith fouled her and Crow went to the line for the one-and-one with the game on the line. She nailed her first attempt but missed her second, leaving the door open for the Spartans with 5.4 seconds left.
UNCG brought the ball over into its half of the floor and called a timeout with 2.4 ticks left on the clock to draw up its final play. Leigh's miss was UNCG's fourth this season with a chance to win or tie a game at the buzzer.
Samford's Savannah Hill scored a game-high 18 points for the Bulldogs, all in the first half. Hill dominated the opening frame, going 7-for-7 from the floor and 4-for-4 from 3-point range.
Smith had a team-best 13 points for UNCG, while Dorsett, starting her second game in a row, finished in double digits for the second straight time with 10 points.
UNCG took excellent care of the ball, turning it over a season-low three times in the game, with just one in the second half.
The Spartans were in the mix despite shooting just 30.6 percent from the floor for the contest (19-for-62), but left several points at the free throw line, where they were just 7-for-15 (46.7 percent).
The Bulldogs led by as many as 13 in the first half. A Smith jumper made it 11-10 in Samford's favor with 13:31 left in the opening frame, but the Bulldogs blew things open with a 12-0 run. Hill had eight points in the spurt, with a layup and two of her 3s.
A Leigh jumper and 3-pointer, sandwiched around a 3 from Sarah Folwell, made for a quick 8-0 run to get UNCG back within five at 23-18, but Hill again had an answer, with two more triples to put the Spartans back down by double digits.
UNCG would cut it to 34-26 at the break, trailing by just eight points despite Samford's shooting 59.1 percent from the floor (13-for-22) in the first half. The Spartans shot just 32.1 percent (9-for-28), but committed just two turnovers in the opening stanza.
The three-point loss was the second in a row in Birmingham for the Spartans in what is turning into a hotly contested rivalry between the two squads. In addition to hitting the decisive free throws in the latest contest, London hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left in last season's Birmingham contest to give Samford a 44-41 win.
Samford leads the series 3-2 now, with the five games decided by an average of seven points per contest.
The Spartans return to action at 7 p.m. Monday, when they will take on league-leading Chattanooga in Chattanooga, Tenn.
SAMFORD 54, UNC GREENSBORO 51
UNC GREENSBORO (7-14, 4-9 SoCon)
Kendra Smith 4-11 4-4 13; Brey Dorsett 3-7 2-3 10; Sarah Folwell 3-13 1-2 9; Agne Girstautaite 3-6 0-2 6; Monique Floyd 3-4 0-4 6; Amanda Leigh 2-11 0-0 5; Lakiah Hyson 1-8 0-0 2; Amy Clapper 0-1 0-0 0; Jazz Weaver 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-62 7-15 51.
SAMFORD (16-6, 10-3 SoCon)
Savannah Hill 7-10 0-0 18; Monica Maxwell 2-5 2-2 8; Alex Crow 2-6 1-2 6; Emily London 1-6 2-2 5; Megan Wilderotter 2-5 0-0 5; Paige Anderson 2-5 0-0 4; Hannah Dawson 2-5 0-0 4; J'Quita Babineaux 0-0 2-2 2; Jazmine Powers 1-1 0-0 2; Jazmine Martin 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-44 7-8 54.
UNC Greensboro 26 25 51
Samford 34 20 54
3-point goals--UNC Greensboro 6-22 (Brey Dorsett 2-3; Sarah Folwell 2-7; Amanda Leigh 1-9; Kendra Smith 1-2; Lakiah Hyson 0-1), Samford 9-23 (Savannah Hill 4-5; Monica Maxwell 2-4; Megan Wilderotter 1-3; Emily London 1-5; Alex Crow 1-3; Jazmine Martin 0-1; Hannah Dawson 0-1; Paige Anderson 0-1). Fouled out--UNC Greensboro-None, Samford-None. Rebounds—UNC Greensboro 37 (Sarah Folwell 7; Agne Girstautaite 7), Samford 36 (Savannah Hill 9). Assists--UNC Greensboro 10 (Lakiah Hyson 3), Samford 13 (Savannah Hill 4). Total fouls--UNC Greensboro 11, Samford 12. Technical fouls—UNC Greensboro-None, Samford-None. A-733
- UNCG -