Smith shows out on Senior Day, leads Seahawks to win

The duo of GiGi Smith and Lacey Suggs led UNCW to a convincing Senior Day victory, combining for 35 of the team's 56 points

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Noah Powers/The Seahawk

GiGi Smith (5) makes a pass during UNCW's Senior Day matchup with Hofstra on March 1, 2020 at Trask Coliseum.

Erin Howard, Staff Writer

WILMINGTON — UNC Wilmington women’s hoops extended its winning streak to three games on Sunday in Trask Coliseum with a Senior Day victory over Hofstra (3-25, 0-17 Colonial Athletic Association). With the win, the Seahawks boosted their record to 9-18 overall and 6-10 in conference play.

Before the opening tip, UNCW’s six senior players: Lacey Suggs, GiGi Smith, Timber Tate, Chinyere Bell, Ahyiona Vason and Moriah Crisp, were honored at center court. All the seniors, other than Bell who is out due to injury, got the start and contributed points to the 56-43 victory in their final game at Trask.

“I’m really, super proud of our seniors. In three years, we’ve recorded 26 home wins,” head coach Karen Barefoot said, reflecting on her time with the program’s senior class. “There’s a love within this group. They know that they have really built this program.”

The Seahawks got off to a strong start, closing the first quarter with a 12-6 lead but struggled throughout the second quarter. Hofstra came out with a quick four unanswered points before they took the lead. UNCW only scored 6 points in the second period and went on two scoring droughts as long as four and three minutes, respectively, with GiGi Smith on the bench in foul trouble.

The ‘Hawks turned things around in the second half. With Smith back on the floor, the Seahawks got things going again offensively, 19 of her 23 points came in the third and fourth quarters. The Seahawks also turned it on defensively after halftime, poking free seven steals.

Smith led all scorers with 23 points followed by Lacey Suggs with 12. Smith had only totaled a combined 21 points in the three games prior to her back-to-back 20+ point performances. She credited the turn-around to her teammates.

“They’ve been keeping my confidence up. I know a lot of people think you’re confident all the time, but you lose it a lot,” said Smith. “I definitely lost it for a while and they just kept picking me up each practice, each game.”

The Smith and Suggs duo was also responsible for eight of the teams 12 steals on the day, grabbing five and three respectively. With less than a minute to go and a 10-point lead, Suggs was still diving on the floor for loose balls.

“That’s what it’s gonna take these last few games that we have and going into the tournament,” Suggs said of her mentality on playing until the last whistle.

The Seahawks have two regular-season games left on their schedule. They will travel north next weekend to play Drexel on Thursday and Delaware on Saturday, where they will look to extend the momentum of their three-game hot streak into those two games before the CAA tournament gets underway on March 11 at Elon.