Three Spartans Score in Double Figures in the SoCon Opener against Furman
GREENVILLE, S.C. – Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School), Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) and Alexis Pitchford (Orlando, Fla./Winter Park) all scored in double figures in the first game of the Southern Conference schedule on Thursday night. The Spartans fell to the Furman Paladins 65-55 inside Timmons Arena in the SoCon opener for both squads. The Spartans fall to 9-7 overall, and 0-1 in SoCon play. Furman improves to 7-9, and 1-0 in the SoCon.
“We did a good job guarding the interior tonight, but we didn’t do a great job defending the three-point line.” Head coach Trina Patterson said, “That hurt us. We gave up too many threes to the players who can make threes. We know our players are fighting, and when we’re on the road we have to get accustomed to our conference. We’ll be able to bounce back quickly for Wofford on Saturday.”
“Some positives are that we outrebounded them,” Patterson continued, “Alexus Willey (Waldorf, Md./Riverdale Baptist) gave us a spark off the bench, with five offensive boards. Bailey (Williams) surprised us, leading our team with nine rebounds. Our guards are versatile. Our decision-making was below average tonight, credit to Furman, they did a great job of shutting down some of our scorers. We’ll get better and we have to do a better job of taking care of the ball.”
Along with Williams’ nine rebounds, Te'ja Twitty (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) added eight boards to go with six points. Willey contributed with six rebounds on the night as the Spartans outrebounded the Paladins 41-32.
The Blue and Gold scored the first four points of the night to take a quick lead. The Spartans led throughout much of the first frame before Furman scored the final eight points of the quarter to take a 19-14 lead.
UNCG was able to rally back in the second quarter, taking a 22-21 following Willey’s first bucket of the night. After a three-pointer from Le’Jzae Davidson gave Furman a 24-22 lead, the teams exchanged points down the stretch and the Spartans went into the half trailing, 30-27.
The Spartans came out of halftime hot, scoring 11-straight points to gain a 38-30 advantage. Williams, Soliman, and Pitchford contributed the eleven points, capped by a Soliman layup. Furman scored seven-straight points out of the media timeout to knot the game at 38. Willey helped UNCG regain the lead, converting a free throw, but Davidson willed Furman back into the lead, hitting a three-pointer with eight seconds left in the quarter to put Furman up 41-39.
The fourth quarter started with an 8-2 Furman run, giving the Paladins a 50-41 lead. A Twitty jumper cut the lead to 52-45, but the Spartans could not come closer in the final seven minutes.
The Spartans are back in action on Saturday, January 7 in Spartanburg, S.C. as they take on the Wofford Terriers in SoCon action.