CHARLESTON, S.C. - Led by key contributions by their seniors and several others, the College of Charleston women's basketball team did something that no team in the history of the program had done as they beat Samford 63-62 Monday at TD Arena.
Senior Latisha Harris scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds and fellow senior Cathryn Hardy made two free-throws with five seconds left to secure the victory. Senior Megan Fischer had two blocks in the game.
The Cougars (12-13, 8-8), beat Samford (12-14, 9-8) for the first time in the history of the program, a series that started in 1998. Samford had won the previous 11 meetings.
The Cougars had to fight their way back as they went into halftime down 28-17 to the Bulldogs.
The Cougars wasted no time coming out of the locker room as they went on a 13-3 run in the first three minutes to get to within one at 31-30.
The Cougars would take their first lead the at 13:46 mark on a Harris free-throw, but Samford came back and hit a three-pointer on their next possession and eventually went back up by five at 41-36 with 12:18 left to go in the game.
With the Cougars up one at 53-52 with 3:19 left to go Hardy made a steal and was fouled. Hardy would miss both free-throws, but on the second shot Harris grabbed the offensive rebound and put in the layup to give the Cougars a 55-52 lead.
Samford make back-to-back baskets to go up 56-55, but Harris went to work inside and was fouled. She made two free-throws to put the Cougars up 57-56 with 1:21 to go. Samford came right back and hit another three-pointer to go up 59-57.
Again it was Harris who took the ball in the paint and was fouled. She calmly made both free-throws to tie the game, 59-59 with 43 seconds remaining.
On the following possession Samford missed a jumper and Tolbert secured the rebound. Junior point guard Jillian Brown, who finished with six assists in the game was fouled and hit both free-throws to put the Cougars up 61-59 with 25 seconds left.
After a Samford timeout Jazmine Martin missed a layup and Harris grabbed the rebound. Hardy would eventually be fouled and this time hit both free-throws to give the Cougars a 63-59 lead with five seconds left to go. Martin would knock down a three-pointer as time expired and the Cougars escaped with the 63-62 victory.
Up next the Cougars have a quick turnaround as they travel to Appalachian State to play the Mountaineers on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
COFC HEAD COACH NATASHA ADAIR
On play of her seniors in the win
"I challenged my seniors because they only had two games left on the floor of TD Arena. It was what legacy do you want to leave and I'm so proud of them. In the last couple of minutes when it was winning time our seniors delivered."
On putting away the game in the last couple of minutes
"It gives us great confidence. We try to manage the situations in practice. We put the kids in a lot of different scenarios so in a game situations, it's not as intense for them. We have had experience playing in close games lately. Our kids are believing. Their confidence is very high right now. We have several players that are stepping up and contributing. I'm so proud of my team right now. They are fighting so hard out there. We had a great will to win tonight. Samford is not an easy team to guard and we battled all night."