Women’s Basketball Denies TTU of Late Run for First Road Win
Cookeville, Tenn. – The UNCG women’s basketball team held off Tennessee Tech’s fourth quarter push to win 65-59 for the first road win of the season. The Spartans were led by freshman Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) led all scorers with 22 points, 21 of which were scored in the first half. Alexis Pitchford (Orlando, Fla./Winter Park) dished out a career-best 10 assists which ranks tied for 8th all-time at UNCG.
“The team really showed some toughness tonight,” said Patterson. “That was our goal, to stay strong, to stay tough. We knew they were going to make runs and I am really proud of the entire team. Our bench came on and did really well.”
The Spartans jumped out to an early 9-0 lead that was capped off with a fast break layup from Soliman. Tennessee Tech got on the scoreboard for the first time at the 5:19 mark when Yaktavia Hickson made a jumper in the paint. The Spartans held on to a double-digit lead to edge TTU 17-6 at the break. Soliman was 4-for-5 from the field and 3-for-4 from behind the arc to lead all scorers with 11 points.
UNCG took a 20-point lead for the first time with 5:04 to play in the first half with a jumper by Soliman. The Spartans scored eight points in the paint during the second quarter and five on a fast break while Pitchford had six assists. As a team, the Spartans shot 61.5 percent from the field in the second frame while holding TTU to 17.6 percent. The Spartans led 49-31 at halftime.
The two squads were even after halftime each soring 13 points. It marked the lowest scoring quarter for UNCG in the game but maintained an 18-point lead with one quarter remaining.
The Golden Eagles opened the final quarter with a 10-4 run, cutting the deficit to single digits, 53-44, when Akia Harris drained a three-pointer with 5:44 to go. Shanese Harris (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) put UNCG ahead by 13 points, 57-44, with 4:13 left in regulation but TTU answered with a 10-2 run making it a one-possession game at 1:29.
A pair of free throws by India Timpton (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) extended UNCG’s lead once more. Pitchford also made a pair of shots at the charity stripe down the stretch as the Blue & Gold earned the first road win of the season, 65-59.
UNCG shot 45.3 percent overall in the win. Te’ja Twitty (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) was the second highest scorer for UNCG with a career-high 14 points, 10 of which were scored in the second half. She added a game-high 10 rebounds for her first career double double. Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) added 11 points while fellow seniors Timpton and Harris had eight and seven points respectively.
UNCG out-rebounded TTU, 42-38 overall and forced 18 turnovers. TTU shot 29.7 percent from the field in the game despite improving to 53.3 percent in the fourth quarter.
“The toughness is what we need to keep up,” added Patterson. “We are trying to understand how to win on the road and we did a good job. It was one big step tonight.”