Lady Mocs overcome big early deficit to rally past UNCG
For video of UNCG coach Wendy Palmer's postgame comments, click here.
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG used some hot shooting to race out to an early 15-point lead but preseason Southern Conference favorite Chattanooga slowly crept back into it before seizing control in the second half in a 63-46 Lady Mocs win Thursday at Fleming Gymnasium.
Breonna Patterson continued her early season surge with a team-high 16 points for UNCG (1-4, 0-1 SoCon), while Janae' Stevenson added 10 off the bench.
Whitney Hood scored a game- and season-high 19 for the Lady Mocs (3-3, 1-0 SoCon), while Kayla Christopher had 17 and Alex Black had 10 as Chattanooga won its 12th straight over UNCG.
The Spartans came ready to play in the league-opener for both squads, shooting a sizzling 81.8 percent from the floor to open the game on a 20-5 run. UNCG went 9-for-11 from the field in bolting out to the huge lead less than six minutes in.
"We came out with a lot of energy," UNCG coach Wendy Palmer said. "The ladies were really focused. That was one of the things I put on the board and said we were going to have to have tonight. So they came out and they were energetic and they played hard and we got up to a good lead. Chattanooga's a good team. (Coach Wes Moore) does a great job with his team, so we knew they were going to come back, they were going to fight, and we just couldn't sustain it."
Patterson, who got off to a sensational start to her sophomore campaign with career highs in points, rebounds and assists in her first three games, was instrumental in UNCG's early success, notching a steal, an assist and eight points in the opening spurt.
A 3-pointer from Black stopped the bleeding for the Lady Mocs, and they chipped away at the big deficit from there. After the teams traded buckets twice, Christopher hit a jumper to draw Chattanooga within 10 at 24-14 with 7:15 to in the opening half.
That basket kicked off a 10-0 Chattanooga run, capped by Taylor Hall's 3-pointer with 4:01 left. The sides traded buckets again as UNCG took a 26-24 lead into the locker room.
The halftime lead was UNCG's first over Chattanooga since Jan. 2, 2007, when the Spartans picked up their last win over the Lady Mocs.
Chattanooga's surge bridged halftime. After Patterson corralled her own missed 3-pointer and laid it in to put UNCG up four to open the second frame, Christopher hit another jumper to make it a one-possession game.
On the Lady Mocs' next possession, Kylie Lambert drove the lane and got a layup to fall, drawing a foul. Lambert hit the ensuing free throw to complete the three-point play and put Chattanooga on top for the first time.
Chattanooga would not relinquish the lead.
The Lady Mocs would push their lead out to eight at 41-33 before a Sidnei Harmon free throw and a Patterson 3 got UNCG back within four with 10:35 to play.
Black answered with her second 3 of the day and Chattanooga was off to the races from there. Black's triple jumpstarted a 12-1 run that made it 53-38 with 4:13 to go.
The Lady Mocs' lead would swell to as much as 20 before Patterson banked in a 3 with 8.4 seconds left for the final margin.
UNCG shot just 28.8 percent for the game (19-for-66), going 10-for-55 after opening the game 9-for-11.
Harmon pulled down a season-high nine rebounds for UNCG, while Hall had a career-high 12 to lead Chattanooga. Lambert finished with a season-high 11 boards.
Patterson, who is averaging 18.3 points per game in her last three contests, hit a career-best four 3-pointers.
"Bre's just evolved into this player that does whatever I ask. I put her in the post and she just kind of thrives at it," Palmer said with a grin about her 5-4 guard. "Whatever I ask, Bre does it. She goes hard, so I can appreciate that. She's only going to get better."
While their shooting went cold after the first few minutes, the Spartans took care of the ball for the duration of the contest, committing just nine turnovers, a season low.
UNCG returns to action Saturday when it hosts Samford at 2 p.m. at Fleming. The Spartans will dedicate Lynne Agee Court during that contest, honoring Agee, who stepped down in March after 30 years as UNCG's coach, at halftime. The contest will also serve as Alumnae Day, with all UNCG women's basketball alumnae invited back to campus.
CHATTANOOGA 63, UNCG 46
CHATTANOOGA (3-3, 1-0 SoCon)
Whitney Hood 9-15 1-3 19; Kayla Christopher 6-11 2-2 17; Alex Black 4-10 0-0 10; Kylie Lambert 2-8 3-4 7; Taylor Hall 2-6 0-0 6; Capriee Tucker 1-1 0-0 2; Meghan Downes 0-3 2-5 2; Kayla Freeman 0-2 0-0 0; Destiny Bramblett 0-0 0-0 0; Ka'Vonne Towns 0-0 0-0 0; Tenisha Townsend 0-3 0-0 0; Ashley Southern 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-59 8-14 63.
UNCG (1-4, 0-1 SoCon)
Breonna Patterson 6-15 0-0 16; Janae' Stevenson 4-9 2-6 10; Jarae Savage 4-15 1-2 9; Sidnei Harmon 3-3 1-3 7; Natalie Headley 1-10 0-0 2; Nneka Awuruonye 1-4 0-0 2; Amy Clapper 0-0 0-0 0; Dayshaun Richbow 0-2 0-0 0; April Carson 0-0 0-0 0; Sarah Folwell 0-2 0-0 0; Jazz Weaver 0-6 0-0 0. Totals 19-66 4-11 46.
Chattanooga................... 24 39 - 63
UNCG.......................... 26 20 - 46
3-point goals--Chattanooga 7-21 (Kayla Christopher 3-5; Alex Black 2-5; Taylor Hall 2-3; Meghan Downes 0-2; Tenisha Townsend 0-2; Kylie Lambert 0-4), UNCG 4-15 (Breonna Patterson 4-8; Jarae Savage 0-3; Natalie Headley 0-1; Dayshaun Richbow 0-1; Sarah Folwell 0-2). Fouled out--Chattanooga-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds--Chattanooga 53 (Taylor Hall 12), UNCG 37 (Sidnei Harmon 9). Assists--Chattanooga 14 (Kayla Christopher 6), UNCG 7 (Natalie Headley 2; Jarae Savage 2; Dayshaun Richbow 2). Total fouls--Chattanooga 10, UNCG 16. Technical fouls--Chattanooga-None, UNCG-None. A-251
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