RICHMOND, Ky. – UNCG women’s basketball suffered its first loss of the season Saturday night in Paul S. McBrayer Arena at the hands of the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Play down low proved to be the difference as EKU outscored UNCG 38-24 in the paint. This was the first time the Spartans have been outscored in the paint this season. The Spartans drop to 3-1 on the season, with EKU improving to 2-1.
“We got going a little too late tonight.” Head coach Trina Patterson said, “It took us two quarters to really wake up and decide to get after it. Brandi (Fier) showed again that she is a scoring point guard and she was able to attack. Nadine (Soliman) came in late with the points. We needed a jump-start tonight. Especially on the road, we have to come out faster than we did. Eastern Kentucky did a really good job of neutralizing our post players. We didn’t get the scoring that we needed down low.”
After posting a career-low her last time out, Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) led the Spartans with 25 points in the contest. Soliman was 6-of-14 from the field, adding a pair of three-pointers and finished 11-for-12 from the free throw line. Brandi Fier (South Beloit, Ill./Illinois Central) added a 13-point effort to go with five assists.
On the boards, Ije Ajemba (Lanham, Md./Old Dominion) led the Spartans, grabbing 10 and dishing out two assists. Amesha Miller (Suffolk, Va./King’s Fork) added four rebounds and eight points in the contest.
The Colonels came out fast in the first quarter as EKU took a 6-2 lead three minutes into the game. The Spartans answered back by going on a 6-0 run, with Soliman hitting a pair of free throws to go up 8-6. Over the last five minutes of the first quarter, the Colonels outscored UNCG 8-2 with Abby Wright and A’Queen Hayes scoring all eight points in the run.
EKU extended its lead in the second quarter, using a 6-0 run to go up 25-14 with 3:59 remaining in the half. UNCG answered with an old fashioned three-point play from Miller to cut the lead to 25-17. The teams traded buckets over the final 3:40 of the half, with Hayes hitting a jumper to extend the lead back to nine with 11 seconds remaining in the half.
UNCG and EKU came out of the intermission hot as both teams shot over 40-percent from the field in the third quarter. The Spartans sunk six field goals, and added four from the charity stripe, but EKU outdid the Spartans, sinking eight field goals to increase its lead to 49-37.
Soliman attempted to will the Spartan back into the contest as she scored 18 of her 25 points over the final 7:16 of the game. After trailing by as many as 16, the Spartans were able to trim the lead down to 11 after Soliman sunk a pair of free throws with 0:06 remaining.
UNCG returns to the court next Tuesday at it hosts the VCU Rams at 5:30 p.m. in Fleming Gym.