Harris and Soliman Score in Double Figures as Women's Basketball falls at ETSU 01-19-2017

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – UNCG women’s basketball suffered a 60-52 loss to the East Tennessee State University Buccaneers inside Brooks Gymnasium on the ETSU’s campus Thursday night. Senior Shanese Harris (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) scored a team-high 13 points and freshman Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) added 10.  The Spartans fall to 10-10 overall, and 1-4 in Southern Conference games.  ETSU improves to 10-9 and 2-2 in the SoCon.

Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) and India Timpton (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) each dished out five assists in the contest.  Timpton added five rebounds.  Williams scored three points and recorded three boards. Te’ja Twitty (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) led the team with nine rebounds, including six offensive boards.

“I thought we played a really good defensive game tonight.” Head coach Trina Patterson said, “We held the leading scorer in the conference (Tianna Tarter) to 12 points.  We did a fairly good job on (Shamauria) Bridges, except for a couple of possessions.  Our defense was solid; our rebounding was solid, however our shooting against the zone needs to improve. We’ll figure it out quickly, because we have one day to prepare for Chattanooga who also plays a lot of zone.”

“I thought Shanese (Harris) did an excellent job off the bench again.” Patterson continued, “Mangela (Ngandjui) provided a lot of energy again off the bench with blocks, steals, defense and scoring.  Overall, it was a good defensive effort, but we need to get better at scoring.  We have to understand that when we shoot 30-percent from the floor and people are targeting our key shooters, we have to do better against the zone.”

The Bucs started fast, opening the game on a 7-0 run. A Mangela Ngandjui (Upper Marlboro, Md./Riverdale Baptist) jumper with 5:27 remaining in the first quarter put the Spartans on the board.   Following the media timeout, UNCG used a 6-0 run to tie the game up at eight.  Alexis Pitchford (Orlando, Fla./Winter Park) hit her first 3-pointer of the game, scored on a fast break layup and Gena Penick (Amherst, Va./Louisburg College) converted from the charity stripe to tie it up. A 3-pointer from Kelci Marosites increased the ETSU lead to three before Harris hit from the line to cut it to 13-11.

The second quarter started similar to the first, with ETSU scoring the first four points.  The Bucs pushed their lead to eight following a layup from Jada Craig with 4:16 remaining in the quarter.  Harris converted a conventional 3-point play with 2:17 remaining to cut the ETSU lead to five before Alexis Willey (Waldorf, Md./Riverdale Baptist) hit her first 3-pointer to bring UNCG within two. Harris closed the quarter out strong, after forcing an ETSU turnover with 0:04 left in the quarter, she was able to draw a foul with 0.2 remaining in the half. She hit both free throws to cut the ETSU lead to 26-24 headed into halftime.

UNCG came out of the half fired up as the Spartans used a 7-0 run to take a lead at 31-28. Soliman scored five of the seven, with Pitchford connecting with a layup. Williams assisted two of the three buckets. UNCG extended its lead to four following a Penick free throw with 4:35 remaining.  ETSU was able to regain the lead following a pair of Tianna Tarter free throws with 2:33 left.  The Spartans answered back, taking a slim lead at 40-39 after a Willey 3-pointer. ETSU closed the quarter on an 8-0 run, with Shamauria Bridges converting a four-point play with :03 left in the quarter.

The Spartans made a run in the fourth quarter.  Starting with 7:38 remaining, Twitty hit a layup to cut the lead to five.  After Raven Dean went 1-for-2 at the line, Twitty converted another shot in the paint.  Pitchford sunk her second 3-pointer of the night to cut the lead to 50-49 in favor of the Bucs.  ETSU answered the Spartan run with one of its own.  Bridges scored on back-to-back possessions, followed by a layup from Raven Dean and Tarter converting from the free throw line.  A late Williams 3-pointer cut the lead down to six, but the Spartans could come no closer.

UNCG returns to action Saturday afternoon as it will take on the Chattanooga Mocs in Chattanooga, Ten.. Tip-off is set for 2:00 in McKenzie Arena.  


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