Women’s Basketball Stifles N.C. Central, 49-39
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG women's basketball team picked up its second-straight victory Wednesday evening, putting the defensive clamps down on North Carolina Central to walk away with a 49-39 nonconference victory at Fleming Gymnasium.
The Spartans (3-6) allowed their fewest amount of points in a single game since limiting Fordham to 39 in a 50-39 victory at Fleming Gymnasium Dec. 13, 2008. UNCG also set a program single-game mark for blocked shots with 11 on the night as three players had at least three. Junior Janae' Stevenson (Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire) moved into fourth place on the Spartans' career blocks list, now owning 82 stuffs in less than three seasons.
"We definitely have some more work to do, but we will celebrate this victory tonight," head coach Wendy Palmer said. This team is getting better and better, but we need to play at a high level consistently. Rebounding has been a focus and we will continue to work on that."
For the sixth time this season, freshman Lucy Mason (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee Charter) led the Blue and Gold in scoring with 12 points while fellow rookie Ciara Morris (Hope Mills, N.C./South View) paced the squad with nine rebounds – four on the offensive glass. In her second game of the season, sophomore Jessica Collins (Raleigh, N.C./Eckerd College) dished out a career-best five assists – including a spectacular dish to Mason for a layup early in the second half.
UNCG shot the ball at a 35-percent clip from the field, hitting 19 of 55 shots, while knocking down all 10 of its free throws. It was the first time since an 11-for-11 performance against Campbell Jan. 9, 1992 that the Spartans were perfect from the line. North Carolina Central won the rebounding battle 43-34 as both squads reached double figures in offensive boards.
Two quick layups from Mason and senior Sidnei Harmon (Cincinnati, Ohio/Turpin) gave UNCG a 4-0 lead with scarcely a minute gone in the contest before six-straight points afforded the Eagles their first advantage of the game. A triple by Collins at the 12:44 mark swung the momentum back in the Spartans' favor before two free throws by Mason capped an 11-2 run which left UNCG with a 15-8 cushion with 7:21 remaining in the half.
It was the Eagles' turn to respond from there, as North Carolina Central scored nine-straight points to take a 17-15 lead at the 3:35 mark. UNCG put forth the half's last word, as freshman Sarafina Arthur-Williams (Germantown, Md./Winston Churchill) and Mason scored in the paint to leave the Blue and Gold with a 19-17 halftime edge.
Chasidy Williams led all scorers in the first 20 minutes with seven points while Mason netted six for the home team. Both squads struggled from the field combining to hit just 14 of 57 attempts from the field.
Stevenson put in a layup just 10 seconds into the second half to give UNCG a 21-17 lead, but the Eagles netted five-straight points to take back the upper hand at the 17:35 mark. It would be the last time North Carolina Central would enjoy the lead as a jumper by Harmon ended a 16-2 run which put the Blue and Gold ahead by 13. The advantage grew as high as 15 when Stevenson converted a layup to make the score 47-32 with 2:53 left in the game. That would be enough for UNCG as the Spartans cruised to the end with the double-digit margin intact.
The Blue and Gold returns to action Saturday, Dec. 22 as UNCG meets No. 23 Florida State in a game that will be played at the Greensboro Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for noon. The contest is part of a doubleheader with the men's team which hosts Wake Forest 30 minutes after the conclusion of the ladies' game.
- UNCG -