GREENSBORO, N.C. – Despite an 18-point performance from freshman guard Lucy Mason (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee Charter), the UNCG women's basketball team fell to defending Southern Conference champion Samford 60-46 Monday night inside Fleming Gymnasium. The Bulldogs improve to 6-7 overall and 3-1 in league play while the Spartans drop to 3-10 and 0-4.
Sophomore Jessica Collins (Raleigh, N.C./Eckerd College) joined Mason in double figures with a career-best 14 points while junior Janae' Stevenson (Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire) pulled down a season-high 11 rebounds and recorded two blocks. She is now in sole possession of third place on the program career blocks list with 90. Mason, the nation's leading freshman scorer, also knocked down a trio of three-point field goals to account for half of her offensive output.
UNCG was hampered by a poor shooting performance, knocking down less than 30 percent of its shots in each half to finish with a 27-percent showing (17-for-64 from the field). Meanwhile, Samford ended up at 43 percent as the Bulldogs fired at a 52-percent clip in the first 20 minutes. The Spartans committed fewer turnovers than the visitors, with just 11 miscues to the Bulldogs' 13, but Samford out-scored the Blue and Gold 32-10 inside the paint. UNCG won the battle on the offensive glass, racking up 17 offensive rebounds to the Bulldogs' eight. However, Samford came away with the overall edge just slightly, 44-43.
The Spartans got off to a solid start, jumping out to a 9-4 lead in the first six minutes of the game. A triple by Mason and a jumper by senior Sidnei Harmon (Cincinnati, Ohio/Turpin) pushed the advantage out to 14-9 before the Bulldogs made a run.
With UNCG leading 16-10 at the 10:34 mark, thanks to a Mason jumper, Samford held the Spartans scoreless for six minutes and went in front 24-16 on a layup by Christy Robinson. Freshman Ebona Goins (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley) hit a three to make the score 28-20 with 52 seconds remaining in the half, but Kendall Schwantz responded with a three-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 31-20 edge at the break.
Hannah Dawson led all scorers in the first 20 minutes with 11 points while Mason netted nine of her 18 during the half. Dawson also pulled down six rebounds and was 5-of-7 from the field. Samford ended the period with a 22-19 edge on the glass.
A triple by Jazmine Martin proved to be the first points of the second half and gave the Bulldogs a 34-20 cushion. However, Stevenson sparked a rally with seven of the Spartans' next 10 points. A Collins three capped the 10-0 run and pulled UNCG to within 34-30 at the 15:51 mark.
The Spartans could not keep the momentum going as Samford answered back with five-straight points to re-establish its nine-point edge. Back-to-back jumpers by Mason and Collins sliced UNCG's deficit back to five (39-34) with 13:39 remaining in the game, but a 10-2 Bulldog run proved ultimately too much for the Spartans to handle. A Collins three-pointer made it a 57-45 contest with 2:49 on the clock, but Samford was able to salt the game away in the final minutes.
UNCG hits the road for its next four games, beginning Saturday, Jan. 12 at Furman. Tipoff between the Spartans and Paladins is set for 2 p.m. inside Timmons Arena.
- UNCG -