For four players on the women’s basketball team, it would be their final game playing at home in Brooks Gym. Coming into their match-up against conference opponent Samford, the Bucs had a 5-6 conference record.
With a win, the Bucs would stay in position to tie for fourth in the conference. A win for Samford would mean the Bucs would tie with Samford at fifth in the standings.
Most importantly, the game was a chance for fans to recognize the seniors on the team: Raven Dean (Charlotte, North Carolina), Sadasia Tipps (Hickory, North Carolina), Britney Snowden (Pensacola, Flordia) and graduate transfer Lexus Spears (Jacksonville, Florida).
“It’s really an awesome opportunity to honor them and celebrate them for what they have done for our program on and off the floor,” said head coach Brittany Ezell.
Offensively in the first quarter, the Bucs struggled at the first media timeout, trailing 8-1. On the other offensive side, Samford did a good job of converting at the end of the shot clock. The Bucs got their first three baskets as Snowden scored on the block. Erica Haynes-Overton’s (Nashville, Tennessee) defensive intensity really picked up the Bucs’ energy as she scored four straight points to close out the first quarter.
At the end of the first quarter, the Bucs led by one with Snowden closing out with eight points, missing none of her four attempts. With less than six minutes remaining in the half at the media timeout, the Bucs’ lead had stretched to 24-15.
The Bucs ended the first half leading 35-21 after outscoring Samford by 13 points in the second quarter. Haynes-Overton had taken the game over on both ends of the floor finishing the first half with 16 points and four steals.
As a team, the Bucs shot better in the second quarter, increasing their shooting percentage to 47 percent. As their offense improved in the second quarter, so did their defense. After allowing Samford to shoot 46 percent in the first quarter, the Bucs only allowed 27 percent in the second quarter.
For the half the Bucs only allowed Samford to shoot 37 percent from the field while the Bucs shot 43 percent. Both teams struggled from outside the perimeter combining to miss 17 attempts.
The Bucs could not have asked for a better start in the second half. With less than five minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Bucs led 48-27 after Haynes-Overton pushed the ball in transition to hit Micah Scheetz (Knoxville, Tennessee) in the corner for the games first made three-pointer. The Bucs defensively held Samford under 10 points in the third quarter going into the fourth quarter with 55-29 lead.
“It meant so much to me,” Dean said. “I love playing here, and Brooks has been good to us. It’s something I’m definitely going to miss.”
Samford got a few threes to fall in the fourth quarter trying to capitalize off the Bucs’ questionable shot selection. At the media timeout with five minutes remaining in the game, the Bucs led 62-44.
The Bucs offensively were too much for Samford, and they won 71-50. Haynes-Overton and Snowden led the Bucs in scoring with 16 points each.
“It was the greatest feeling,” said Sadasia Tipps. “It was a great win, and I would not want to do it with any other team.”