Seahawks use depth to conquer Grand Canyon

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Seahawks use depth to conquer Grand Canyon

Gigi Smith (5) attempts a free throw during UNCW's Nov. 17, 2018 contest against Grand Canyon

Gigi Smith (5) attempts a free throw during UNCW's Nov. 17, 2018 contest against Grand Canyon

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Gigi Smith (5) attempts a free throw during UNCW's Nov. 17, 2018 contest against Grand Canyon

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Gigi Smith (5) attempts a free throw during UNCW's Nov. 17, 2018 contest against Grand Canyon

Elijah Mize, Contributing Writer

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UNC Wilmington women’s basketball team is now off to its best start since the 2010-11 squad after it defeated Grand Canyon 77-55 in Trask Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.

Double-digit scoring efforts from Shrita Parker, GiGi Smith, Timber Tate and Chinyere Bell once again showcased the Seahawks overall depth as a team.

Under Pressure

Grand Canyon broke the Seahawks’ full-court press early in the game and hit four three-pointers in the opening period and found itself tied despite allowing six turnovers to UNCW.

After that though, it was all Seahawks. After giving up the opening basket of the second quarter to go down 20-18, UNCW would go on to take the lead with just under nine minutes remaining and would not relinquish the lead again, outscoring GCU by 22 points over the final three quarters.

“It was a solid win,” said coach Karen Barefoot at the post-game press conference. “We really did a great job defensively getting after it, especially after halftime pushing the tempo.”

UNCW forced a season-high 26 turnovers that led to 25 points. The defensive pressure the Seahawks put on Grand Canyon also led to 30 fast-break points. All of this despite Grand Canyon outshooting the Seahawks percentage wise from the field (53.3%44.1%) and from three ( 46.7%/26.7%).

Depth, Depth and more Depth

If depth was the key to victory for UNCW, it was the complete opposite for GCU. The Seahawks had 13 players play at least two minutes. GiGi Smith played 33 minutes which was the only Seahawk to play more than 30 minutes in the game.

For GCU they only played a total of 7 players with four of their starting five each playing over 35 minutes in the game.

Everyone Contributes

At times during the game, especially in the second half, it turned into the Parker show as she added five steals and four assists to her game-high 19 points. During a stretch to end the second quarter redshirt-senior scored seven straight points to give UNCW a seven-point cushion at halftime, 35-28.

“I want to give a quick shout out to coach [Tina] Martin and coach Barefoot for believing in us,” said Parker during her press conference. “When you have a coach who believes in you anything is possible.”

Along with Parker, redshirt-junior Smith added 14 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Bench contributions came from sharpshooting junior guard Tate who hit four attempts from three-point range finishing with 14 total points, and Bell added 11 points and three rebounds.