CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Buccaneers were unable to connect as Charleston Southern fell to UNCG, 45-37, at the Buc Dome on Thursday night in the first round of the Women's Basketball Invitational.
"We didn't shoot the ball well tonight," CSU Head Coach Fred Applin said. "We missed shots that we normally make and struggled from the free throw line. Unfortunately, those things were the difference in the game."
The Buccaneers (18-14, 11-7) shot just 19 percent from the floor for one of their worst offensive performances of the season. After entering the contest shooting 68 percent from the charity stripe, CSU missed 11 of its 21 attempts at the free throw line.
Elyse Kiploks wrapped up her collegiate career with a career-high 15 rebounds. The Buccaneers' defense held their own against the Spartans (18-14, 7-7), finishing the night just two boards short (39) of tying the Southern Conference's top rebounding team.
Shauntavia Dobson led the Bucs with a game-high two three-pointers and finished the night with nine points, tying the game-high. After trailing for the entire contest, the junior guard sparked a CSU rally in the fourth quarter after entering the game with seven minutes left to play. With the Bucs down by 18 points, Dobson posted back-to-back threes to bring an end to a near five-minute CSU scoring drought.
"Shauntavia is a solid player," Applin said. "She didn't play a lot this year, but she was always a leader for our team and I think next year will be her time to shine."
The Buccaneers were able to cut UNCG's lead down to single digits after Dobson was fouled from beyond the arc, making two of the three attempts to put the score at 44-36 with just over two minutes remaining.
CSU's defense finished the game with a lot of heart, forcing six UNCG turnovers over three minutes. The Bucs fell just short of a comeback, narrowly missing several shot attempts in the final seconds of the game. Kiploks wrapped up the Buccaneers' 2016-17 season with a basket from the charity stripe before the Spartans ran out the clock for the 45-37 UNCG victory.
Thursday's game marked the Bucs third appearance in the WBI and first under Head Coach Fred Applin.
"I think receiving a bid to play in the WBI is a big step for this program," Applin added. "For where we started in July, to where we finished, it's a very big deal for our student-athletes and I am very proud of this team."
With 18 wins on the season, this year's team tied for the most wins in program history. The Bucs previously reached the 17-win mark in the 2009-10 and 2011-12 seasons. The 2016-17 slate was the Bucs' first double-digit wins mark in conference play, with CSU previously achieving nine wins on three separate occasions in the 2000-01, 2009-10 and 2011-12 seasons.