GREENSBORO, N.C. – A one-possession game in the last minute fell Georgia Southern's way Saturday as the Eagles picked up a 63-56 Southern Conference victory over the UNCG women's basketball team at Fleming Gymnasium.
The Spartans came close to recording their first league win of the season, but GSU made a few more plays down the stretch to seal its second-straight triumph.
Junior guard Breonna Patterson (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley) led all UNCG scorers with 12 points while classmate and forward Janae' Stevenson (Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire) fell just one rebound short of her fourth double-double in five contests as she tallied 11 points and nine boards before fouling out late in the game. Also working the glass for the Spartans was senior forward Sidnei Harmon (Cincinnati, Ohio/Turpin) who pulled down eight caroms.
The Eagles knocked down 40 percent of their shots from the field (25-for-62) while UNCG ended up at 38 percent (20-for-53). The Spartans were awarded 21 free throw attempts but hit just 12. Conversely, Georgia Southern drained eight of its 11 tries from the charity stripe. The Eagles also finished with the upper hand in rebounding, 39-36, as both teams racked up 13 offensive boards. UNCG posted 10 assists on its 20 buckets, with freshman guard Lucy Mason (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee Charter) dishing out five helpers, while GSU was credited with nine.
The Eagles were able to take advantage of 19 Spartan turnovers, scoring 25 points off those miscues. Georgia Southern also received 27 points from its bench to aid its cause.
UNCG held the visitors off of the scoreboard for the first 2:12, building a 4-0 lead thanks to a jumper by Harmon and two free throws by sophomore guard Jessica Collins (Raleigh, N.C./Eckerd College). The Spartans would lead 6-5 at the first official timeout before an 11-2 run propelled the Eagles into the lead by eight with 11:55 left in the half.
A trio of UNCG players scored over the next two minutes with freshman guard Ebona Goins (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley) knocking down a three to help the Spartans pull within one, 16-15, at the 9:46 mark. A jumper by Jordi Cook allowed Georgia Southern to briefly re-establish a five-point cushion, but the Blue and Gold responded again and tied the score at 20 on two Stevenson free throws as the clock showed 6:55.
The teams traded baskets for much of the remainder of the first half and a layup by sophomore guard Jarae Savage (Marietta, Ga./North Cobb) left UNCG with a 28-27 advantage with under a minute remaining. Meredyth Frye then drew a foul with three seconds left and drained one of two free throws to leave the score tied at 28 heading into the break.
The Eagles shot 44 percent (12-for-27) from the field in the first 20 minutes while the home side turned in a 37-percent showing (10-for-27). GSU also won the half's rebounding battle 18-15, but turned the ball over 11 times in the period. MiMi Dubose and Collins both scored eight points to pace their respective teams.
A defensive struggle ensued as the second half began, but a triple by freshman guard Jazmine Missouri (Kensington, Md./Academy of the Holy Cross) at the 14:10 mark gave UNCG its largest lead at 39-35. Georgia Southern battled back and moved in front by three when Dubose got free for a layup at the 11:41 mark.
The Eagles seemed to take control with about six minutes remaining as a layup by Frye made the score 51-45, but the Spartans would rally, pulling to within one at 51-50 when Savage knocked down a free throw with 4:52 left in the game. GSU was able to score six-straight points over the next 48 seconds, extending its cushion to 57-50, but UNCG made one last charge as six of the next seven points belonged to the Spartans.
A layup by Mason sliced UNCG's deficit to just two, 58-56, with 1:27 on the clock, but the Spartans would not score again. The Eagles netted the final five points of the game to establish the final margin.
UNCG heads back on the road for its next game, traveling to Wofford Monday, Jan. 28. Tipoff at Benjamin Johnson Arena is slated for 6 p.m.
- UNCG -