The University of West Georgia women’s basketball coach didn’t want to take too much else from his ball club’s 51-48 Gulf South Conference victory over Alabama-Huntsville on Thursday evening at The Coliseum, where the Lady Chargers’ 3-point attempt in the closing seconds to tie the game was blocked, which proved to be a fitting ending to this one.
“I mean, I thought both teams played pretty poorly. I know we did. And I think they did, too. Both teams shot the ball poorly, but at the end of the day, we just wanted to win. And we got that. We got what we came for,” Groninger said.
Despite not scoring a field goal during the final 9:48 of the game, West Georgia (12-6, 6-4 GSC) used a gritty defensive effort and went 11-of-17 from the charity stripe in that time to send the Lady Chargers (8-12, 5-5) to a fourth consecutive loss.
The Wolves led by six with 1:58 remaining following a pair of Shakiyla McLin free throws, but UAH scored the next five points to pull within 48-47 on a Jasmine Hammon layup with 1:11 left.
UWG senior point guard Jerlisa Taylor then came up with a big offensive rebound on the other end of the floor off her own missed shot and got fouled with 40.2 seconds to go. After knocking down 1-of-2 attempts for the 49-47 edge, UWG capitalized on two Lady Charger misses in the paint before Angela Davis corralled the carom with 22.8 ticks left on the clock.
Davis would make good on 1-of-2 attempts to make it a three-point game, but the Wolves were whistled for a foul at the other end, putting UAH junior guard Jordan Smith on the line for two shots with 16.5 seconds remaining. Smith made 1-of-2 attempts and then Taylor countered by going 1-of-2 from the line again with just over 10 seconds on the clock, giving UAH an opportunity to knot the game up on a trey.
The Lady Chargers got the ball down the court and called a timeout with 6.0 seconds left. After UAH drew up a last-second play, McLin got a piece of Smith’s 3-point attempt, which fell out of bounds with 0.4 still on the clock. From there, Davis deflected the UAH in-bounds pass as the buzzer sounded to end the game.
And while it wasn’t a thing of beauty, UWG will take the three-point win and run with it to Saturday’s 2 p.m. showdown against Shorter in Rome.
UAH shot 14-of-52 (27 percent) from the floor and connected on just five first-half field goals, while the Wolves went 14-of-55 (26 percent) from the field, including a 6-of-25 (24 percent) clip from beyond the arc and a 17-of-29 (59 percent) showing at the charity stripe.
Both teams committed 20 turnovers, with the Wolves getting eight assists and the Lady Chargers recording a mere five.
UAH was led by its pair of junior guards in Hammon and Smith, with Hammon leading all scorers with 19 points, 11 boards and four steals, while Smith posted 11 points.
“I thought they missed some shots, honestly, that they usually make. I’m sitting here thinking, ‘Man, we did a pretty decent job on Hammon,’ and she gets 19 and 11. Then Smith gets 11. But the other kids, no one got more than four. So like I said [Thursday] in the paper, we’re not trying to stop them, we’re trying to win the game. They got 30, but the other kids didn’t make up,” Groninger said.
Taylor led the Wolves with 15 points, seven rebounds and five steals, while junior guard Taylor Turgeon scored 14 points with seven rebounds and three steals, going 4-of-7 from downtown.
Groninger said his squad will have to play a much cleaner game on Saturday against the Hawks (11-7, 6-4), who suffered a 60-46 setback at West Alabama on Thursday night.
“We’re going to have to collect ourselves and are going to have to have a better, more focused effort on Saturday,” Groninger said.