Williams' Big Day Comes up Just Short Against SoCon-Leading Chattanooga
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Senior guard Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) tallied a game-high 20 points, shooting 6-of-9 from 3-point range as UNCG women’s basketball fell to the Southern Conference-leading Chattanooga Mocs Saturday afternoon, 58-55. Williams’ six made 3-pointers are tied for second-most in single game history at UNCG, and the team’s 11 made 3-pointers are tied for fourth-best in a single game.
Along with being a school record, Williams’ six made 3-pointers tie a McKenzie Arena record for made 3-pointers by an opponent. Alexus Willey (Waldorf, Md./Riverdale Baptist) and Shanese Harris (Chesapeake Va./Western Branch) scored two apiece from distance and Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) added one. Harris finished with 14 points.
“We have multiple 3-point shooters on this team, we know that Bailey (Williams) can shoot it, (Alexus) Willey can shoot the three, Nadine (Soliman), can shoot the three, AP (Alexis Pitchford) has been shooting well in the conference, and against the zone, you have to knock down shots.” Head coach Trina Patterson said, “For us, we had some keywords we used to be ready for this game. We had to be shot-ready, make the extra pass, and we were making sure that we were boxing out and getting an arm bar on these players that are much taller and somewhat more athletic than us.”
“I thought when we went to our big lineup that we had some success. Tribute to Mariah (Wilson), she was an enforcer inside, changed a lot of shots, rebounded, and contributed to that run in the third and fourth quarter. I think anytime we make 10 or 11 threes, we’re going to put ourselves in a position to win the game. 3-point shooting, and taking care of the ball kept us in the game today. I’m really proud of the girls, I think this gives us some momentum going into Western Carolina and the second round of SoCon play.”
India Timpton (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) led the team with eight rebounds, including six offensive boards. She added six points. Mariah Wilson (Atlanta, Ga./North Atlanta) provided some strong defense off the bench, earning three defensive rebounds and three blocks.
UNCG used a strong second half effort to give the league-leading Mocs as much as they could handle. The Spartans fall to 10-11 on the season and 1-5 in SoCon play. Chattanooga improves to 11-8, and remain a perfect 5-0 in league action.
With 5:05 remaining in the third quarter, the Spartans mounted their comeback. Using its best 3-point effort of the season, UNCG steadily cut into the Chattanooga lead in the second half.
With the Mocs leading 50-31,UNCG closed the third quarter out on a 10-0 run to cut the lead down to nine. Harris got the run started, sinking a layup after a pass from Wilson. Harris hit another jumper before Willey hit a 3-pointer. Wilson capped the run with a layup , assisted by Te’ja Twitty (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) on the play.
Williams started the final quarter with a bang, hitting a 3-pointer to cut the lead to six. After a Keiana Gilbert jumper in the paint before Williams hit another 3-pointer to bring the lead back to within five.
UNCG continued the comeback as Willey hit another three, the Spartans got a stop on the defensive end and Harris added another basket from distance to cut the lead to 55-52, Chattanooga with 3:08 remaining. UNCG missed on its offensive chance following a timeout before an India Timpton (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) stopped the clock with 0:42 remaining.
SoCon Preseason Player of the Year Jasmine Joyner hit a jumper with 0:15 remaining to increase the lead to 57-53 in favor of the Mocs. Harris scored another layup to cut the Chattanooga lead back to two before Alexis Pitchford (Orlando, Fla./Winter Park) fouled, forcing Chattanooga to the line. Chelsey Shumpert went 1-of-2 from the line, increasing the Moc lead to 58-55 with 0:05 left in the game. Harris had a chance as time expired but was unable to sink her attempt and Chattanooga escaped with the win.
The Spartans are back in action Saturday, January 28 as they host the Western Carolina Catamounts inside Fleming Gymnasium at 4:00 p.m.