For video of UNCG coach Wendy Palmer's postgame comments, click here.
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Sarah Folwell's potential game-tying 3-pointer was just off the mark with 12 seconds to go and Southern Conference leader Furman put the game away at the free throw line, holding off the Spartans' furious second-half rally for the 53-48 win Monday evening at Timmons Arena.
UNCG (2-8, 1-3 SoCon) trailed by 10 at 49-39 with 4:40 to go but used a 7-0 run to trim the Paladins' lead to 49-46 with 2:01 left.
Neither team would score again until the closing seconds, but that didn't mean the last two minutes were without drama.
UNCG had a chance to inch closer with about a minute and a half left, as Janae' Stevenson blocked a Lashana Booker shot, grabbed the rebound and raced toward UNCG's basket. With two defenders draped all over her, Stevenson missed the contested layup and the chance to make it a one-point game.
Still a one-possession game, Furman (7-3, 4-0) came up with two huge offensive rebounds on its next possession to run precious second off the clock. Booker skied to grab the miss after Raegan Thompson's long jumper, and after Kaitlin Murphy's attempt failed to draw iron, Teshia Griswold came up with another offensive board to keep the ball in Furman's hands.
Murphy got off a desperation 3 to try to beat the shot clock, but she came up empty, and the officials went to the replay to see if her first attempt had hit the rim. The ruling on the court stood, handing UNCG the ball back via shot clock violation with 20.2 seconds to go and the score still 49-46.
Folwell checked in and got a solid look from long range, firing a 3 from in front of the Spartans' bench. Her shot kicked off the side of the rim and into Griswold's hands, forcing UNCG to foul.
The Paladins, who entered the contest second in the league in free throw percentage at 73.4 as a team, didn't miss when it counted, as Griswold hit both ends of the 1-and-1 to make it a five-point contest.
Dayshaun Richbow raced the length of the floor and got a driving layup to drop to again make it a three-point game, but UNCG again had to foul to stop the clock. Janice Roberts salted away the Paladins' win, hitting both free throws for the 53-48 final margin.
"The second half, we came out more focused," UNCG coach Wendy Palmer said. "We talked about some things at halftime: rebounding, our intensity level. They made the adjustment and they fought back. It's just really tough when you're fighting and trying to pull yourself out of a hole to finally go on top, so we've yet to master that.
"We did end up getting the ball and ran a good play, but we didn't make the shot. Sarah had a good look at it. I'm very proud of her for stepping in and haven't played a lot and having confidence to take the shot."
Furman led 22-14 at the half, thanks largely to nine first-half points from Thompson. UNCG opened the second period on an 8-0 run to tie the contest before the Paladins reclaimed the lead and stretched it out to as many as 10 four times, the last time on a Thompson jumper with 4:45 to go.
Stevenson finished with a team-high 13 points for UNCG, also adding six rebounds and two blocked shots. She moved into ninth place in school history in career blocks, as she now has 49.
"We talk about a consistent effort all the time, and how she has to be a physical presence on the court and trying to get that out from the beginning of the game," Palmer said. "She's working really hard, and I know it's going to show up."
Richbow finished with 10 points to go along with six rebounds, while Jazz Weaver had six points and a team- and career-best seven rebounds.
Thompson led all scorers with 18 points and had 12 rebounds for the game's only double-double. Murphy was also in double figures with 14 points for the Paladins.
The Spartans finished with more field goals than did Furman, hitting 22 to the Paladins' 18. Furman had four 3-pointers to UNCG's one, a Folwell triple midway through the second half, but the Paladins' real advantage came at the free throw line, where Furman was 13-for-16. UNCG attempted just five free throws, hitting three.
UNCG was playing its second straight game without leading scorer Breonna Patterson, who is nursing a foot injury.
UNCG returns to action on Dec. 28 when it will play the first of two games at San Diego State's Surf 'N Slam Classic. The Spartans will take on host SDSU on Dec. 28 and will face Penn the following day.
FURMAN 53, UNCG 48
UNCG (2-8, 1-3 SoCon)
Janae' Stevenson 6-11 1-2 13; Dayshaun Richbow 5-17 0-0 10; Natalie Headley 4-13 1-1 9; Jazz Weaver 3-9 0-0 6; Sarah Folwell 1-3 0-0 3; Sidnei Harmon 1-2 1-2 3; Jarae Savage 1-7 0-0 2; Nneka Awuruonye 1-3 0-0 2; April Carson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-66 3-5 48.
FURMAN (7-3, 4-0 SoCon)
Raegan Thompson 7-15 0-0 18; Kaitlin Murphy 4-11 6-6 14; Janice Roberts 1-4 5-6 7; Teshia Griswold 2-6 2-2 6; Lashana Booker 2-10 0-2 4; Ayanna Randolph 2-2 0-0 4; Brittany Hodges 0-0 0-0 0; Brigid Morrissey 0-7 0-0 0; Alexis Peterson 0-1 0-0 0; Savonia Bryan 0-0 0-0 0; Sarah Durdaller 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-57 13-16 53.
UNCG.......................... 14 34 - 48
Furman........................ 22 31 - 53
3-point goals--UNCG 1-8 (Sarah Folwell 1-2; Dayshaun Richbow 0-1; Natalie Headley 0-2; Jazz Weaver 0-1; Jarae Savage 0-2), Furman 4-17 (Raegan Thompson 4-8; Kaitlin Murphy 0-3; Teshia Griswold 0-2; Brigid Morrissey 0-3; Sarah Durdaller 0-1). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Furman-None. Rebounds--UNCG 39 (Jazz Weaver 7), Furman 47 (Raegan Thompson 12). Assists--UNCG 12 (Natalie Headley 4), Furman 10 (Kaitlin Murphy 6). Total fouls--UNCG 14, Furman 12. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Furman-None. A-362
- UNCG -