Women’s Basketball Defeats Charleston Southern 45-37, Will Host Brown in WBI Quarterfinals Sunday
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Behind a dominant performance inside the paint, UNCG took down Charleston Southern 45-37 Thursday night at the Buccaneer Field House, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Women’s Basketball Invitational.
The Spartans will host Brown Sunday in the quarterfinal round, taking on the Bears at 2:00 p.m. at Fleming Gymnasium. Tickets will be five dollars for adults, three dollars for seniors over 55 and children under 12.
“I’m just really proud to get a postseason victory,” said head coach Trina Patterson. “We didn’t handle their pressure very well at times but I’m really happy that we were able to survive and advance. That’s really what it’s all about. We had a total team effort and did what we do.”
UNCG abused the Bucs in the paint, outscoring CSU 36-12 inside the lane. The Spartan defense smothered the Bucs, holding CSU to 19.0-percent shooting from the field. UNCG, on the other hand, knocked down exactly half of its 36 field goal attempts.
“We played great defense,” continued Patterson. “The fact that they shot 19-percent at their own place was a product of our defensive intensity.”
Alexis Pitchford (Orlando, Florida/Winter Park) and Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) led the Blue and Gold with nine points apiece, while Te’ja Twitty (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) posted eight points and four rebounds.
The Spartans came out of the gates guns a’ blazin’, opening up with a 9-0 run, including four early points from Pitchford. After the quick start both teams’ offenses sputtered and UNCG took an 11-4 lead into the second quarter.
Mangela Ngandjui got the second period started just like the first, with a Spartan bucket, knocking down a jumper from the free throw line off the glass. However, from there the Bucs started to chip away and midway through the quarter the Spartan lead had been whittled down to just four.
The Spartans turned back up the heat on CSU and began to force turnovers, rebuilding the advantage to double-digits in a three-minute span. At the break, the Spartans led 25-15, paced by Soliman’s nine points on 4-of-6 shooting.
Both teams struggled offensively to begin the second half, with a CSU jumper by Ke’Asia Jackson breaking a 1:58 scoring drought to open the third. Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood), though, answered with a floater in the lane to get the lead back to 10.
A Shanese Harris (Chesapeake, Va./) mini 4-0 run helped the Spartans close on an 8-3 run to take a 37-23 lead into the final 10 minutes.
The Bucs missed their first six shots of the fourth quarter as UNCG built its lead to 41-23 before Shauntavia Dobson ended the cold start with a triple for CSU. Another Dobson three shortly thereafter helped spark a 13-3 Buc run that cut the UNCG advantage to 44-36.
However, time ran out on the Buccaneer comeback as the Blue and Gold secured a 45-37 victory to advance to the quarterfinals of the WBI.