Women’s Basketball Winning Ways Halted by Western Carolina
CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Despite holding a solid advantage in terms of field goal percentage and rebounds, UNCG women’s basketball was unable to keep its hot streak alive on the road Saturday afternoon, falling to Western Carolina 73-77.
The Spartans shot 41.4-percent from the floor, compared to 37.7-percent from the Catamounts. UNCG also pulled down 12 more rebounds than WCU, including 23 offensive boards.
The difference in the game came from the charity stripe. The two teams each made two-thirds of their foul shots, but UNCG took just 12 attempts from the free throw line, knocking down eight. The Catamounts, on the other hand, went to the line for 36 tries, making 24.
UNCG also turned the ball over 17 times, including 10 WCU steals, while the Catamounts did a much better job of taking care of the ball, being forced into just six turnovers.
Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) led all scorers with a career-high 24 points, sinking 11-of-23 attempts, also grabbing five rebounds and dishing out four assists. Te’ja Twitty (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) notched her third consecutive double-double, posting 12 points and 11 boards.
The Catamounts had five players in double figures, led by Tess Harris’ 14 points. Sherae Bonner matched Twitty’s double-double, registering 13 points and 10 rebounds.
The Spartans got off to a quick start, scoring nine of the game’s first 11 points. However, WCU answered with a 9-0 run to grab a two-point lead. The two sides went back-and-forth from there, with UNCG holding a slim two-point advantage at the horn.
The back-and-forth theme continued into the second quarter, with Williams doing most of the heavy lifting for UNCG. The senior point guard scored nine of the Spartans’ 11 points in the period, hitting a jumper with 27 seconds left to give the Blue and Gold a 27-26 lead going into the locker room.
Western Carolina controlled the third quarter, outscoring the Spartans 26-16 in the period for a 52-43 lead. JonTay Mitchem put up nine points on four-of-seven shooting in the period, while WCU hit eight-of-nine free throws.
The Catamounts built their lead to as much as 14 in the fourth. However, the Spartans fought hard to close the gap. UNCG got the WCU lead down to four points but unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough.
Finishing the regular season with a 7-7 record in Southern Conference play, UNCG earns the No. 4 seed in next week’s SoCon tournament. The Spartans will play No. 5 Furman Thursday, March 2 at 1:45 p.m. in Asheville, North Carolina.