Women’s Basketball Falls To Top-Seeded Chattanooga In SoCon Semifinals
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The fourth-seeded UNCG women’s basketball team saw its Southern Conference Tournament run come to an end Friday morning as the Spartans suffered a 75-53 loss to top-seeded Chattanooga at the U.S. Cellular Center. The Spartans fall to 17-14 on the season and now await a possible postseason opportunity. The 17 victories are the most for the Spartans since winning 20 games in 2006-07.
Freshman guard Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) led the way in the loss with a game-high 26 points, marking the 10th time this season she has scored 20 or more points. Soliman connected on 11-of-21 from the field, including three 3-pointers. Freshman forward Mangela Ngandjui (Upper Marlboro, Md./Riverdale Baptist) added eight points off the bench on 4-of-7 shooting, continuing her strong play in the tournament.
UNCG finished the game shooting 40 percent (24-of-60) from the field but hit just 26.7 percent (4-of-15) from 3-point land and only 1-of-7 (14.3%) from the free throw line. Those percentages thwarted the UNCG attack despite the Spartans out-rebounding the Mocs by a 38-35 margin, including 14 offensive rebounds. Additionally, UNCG committed 16 turnovers in the loss, which Chattanooga turned into 19 points.
Jasmine Joyner led three Mocs in double figures scoring in the victory with a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Chelsey Shumpert added 18 points while Lakelyn Bouldin finished with 16 points in the win. Chattanooga (20-10) advances to its fifth-straight SoCon Tournament Final Sunday after hitting 43.9 percent (25-of-57) from the field and 33.3 percent (5-fo-15) from 3-point land. The Mocs also were strong at the free throw line, hitting 20-fo-23 (87%).
The teams started out evenly matched as Soliman scored the first seven of the game for the Spartans as UNCG was tied 7-7 over five minutes into the game. Chattanooga pulled out to a 14-9 lead as Joyner scored in the post before the Spartans scored four straight from Soliman and Ngandjui to end the first quarter down just one at 14-13.
Freshman forward Te’Ja Twitty (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) would score with 5:32 in the second quarter to pull UNCG within two at 21-19. The Mocs responded with an 8-1 run to take a 29-21 lead as Shumpert scored five straight and Bouldin hit a 3-pointer. The Spartans would pull within five in the final minute of the half but Shumpert hit two free throws to give the Mocs a 31-24 lead at halftime.
Chattanooga broke the game open early in the second half with a 9-1 run to start, extending the lead to 40-25. UNCG aided the run with four turnovers in the first 2:20 of the second half while Queen Alford scored five straight to spark the Mocs.
Chattanooga would extend the lead to as large as 26 points in the fourth quarter as the Mocs had their best shooting quarter of the game. Chattanooga connected on 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from the field in the fourth quarter and hit 11-of-13 (84.6 percent) from the charity stripe.
-- UNCG --