GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG women's basketball team plays the first of 15 games at Fleming Gymnasium Tuesday night, hosting Big South foe Radford at 7 p.m. The Spartans dropped a tough 60-57 decision to Charleston Southern in its season opener last Saturday at the Asheville Collegiate Invitational.
Freshman point guard Lucy Mason turned in an impressive debut for the Spartans, scoring 17 points to go along with four rebounds and three steals. Junior Jarae Savage also reached double figures with 10 points while leading UNCG in rebounding with eight boards.
UNCG forced 29 turnovers in the contest, scoring 30 points off those miscues and ending up with 13 steals. The Spartans also received nine points off the bench while limiting the Bucs to six. Charleston Southern held a slight advantage in rebounding with 41 as compared to 35 for the Blue and Gold, but UNCG secured 12 offensive rebounds – including four from junior Janae' Stevenson. Additionally, the Buccaneers shot 42 percent from the field and knocked down nine three-point field goals.
Five of the Spartans' nine newcomers played in the season opener while Mason earned the first start of her collegiate career. Freshman guard Jazmine Missouri tallied three points and two steals in 24 minutes and shared the point guard duties with Mason who played a total of 29 minutes.
Tuesday's contest marks the 18th meeting between UNCG and Radford. The Spartans lead the all-time series 11-6 but have lost two of the last three matchups. The last victory for the Blue and Gold over the Highlanders occurred Dec. 11, 2010 when UNCG downed Radford 73-58 at Fleming Gymnasium.
The Spartans own a 121-57 record against current members of the Big South Conference. UNCG has faced off against Campbell (11-1), Charleston Southern (14-3), Coastal Carolina (12-6), High Point (11-10), Liberty (14-7), Longwood (15-11), Radford (11-6), UNC Asheville (14-2) and Winthrop (19-11). The Blue and Gold has never met Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian College or VMI.
Radford was picked to finish in fifth place this season by the Big South Conference's coaches. Returning all five starters and 12 letterwinners from last year's squad that went 16-15, the Highlanders feature one of the most veteran-laden groups in the nation. Senior guard Da'Naria Erwin Spencer, a three-time All-Big South honoree, averaged a career-best 17.4 points per game during her junior campaign and became the 19th member of RU's 1,000-point club in a 24-point, six-assist effort at Campbell.
The Highlanders opened their campaign with a 65-63 loss at Marshall. Spencer netted 14 points to become the third player in Radford women's basketball history to be listed in the Top-10 for points, assists, and steals while sophomore Ayana Avery led the Highlanders (0-1) with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-6 from deep. Sarah Tabb hauled in a game-high nine rebounds for Radford, which shot 39.3 percent from the floor.
- UNCG -