Women's Basketball Begins the New Year with Southern Conference Action at Chattanooga
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG women’s basketball heads to Chattanooga for the first game of the Southern Conference season Thursday evening. The Spartans and Mocs are set for a 5:30 tip off in the SoCon first game of 2018 for both schools. UNCG enters having won two of its last three games and are 6-9 on the season. Chattanooga sports a 9-5 record.
Live stats and a video stream will be available for Thursday’s game. Stats are available via UTC’s stats webpage and the stream will be broadcasted on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Links for each of these services are located on the UNCG women’s basketball schedule page.
The Spartans are coming off of a 78-62 victory over Lees-McRae Sunday afternoon. Alexus Willey (Waldorf, Md./Riverdale Baptist) had a career day, earning her first career double-double. She scored 17 points and hauled down a career-best 12 rebounds. She also set career-highs with four assists and four blocks in the victory. UNCG had four players score in double figures in the victory, with Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) adding 17. Te’ja Twitty (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) added 16 and Ije Ajemba (Lanham, Md./Old Dominion) added 14.
Soliman leads the Spartan offense with a 13.4 points per game average. Soliman shoots 40-percent from the field and leads the defense with 22 steals. Willey adds 11.8 points per game and leads the team with 26 made 3-pointers this season. Each has dished out 19 assists on the season and Willey has blocked 12 opponent shots.
Ajemba has been a force inside for the Spartans. The senior center averages 11.4 points per game and is 15th in the nation with 11.4 rebounds per game. Ajemba has seven double-doubles on the season, ranking 20th in the nation in that category. Her 8.0 defensive rebounds per game ranks 19th in the country and her 171 total rebounds is ninth-best in all of Division I. Ajemba leads the team with 15 blocks and shoots 48-percent from the field. She leads the SoCon in all individual rebounding categories.
UNCG’s defense is one of the tops in the SoCon limiting opponents to just 62.2 points per game. The Spartans have outscored opponents by an average of 3.6 points per game, but are even more dominant on the glass, out rebounding opponents by 4.9 per game. The Blue and Gold lead the SoCon in defensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 366 defensive boards and limiting opponents to just 135 offensive rebounds.
The Mocs have played tough competition in the non-conference season. Chattanooga has earned wins over four Power 5 schools, including wins at Indiana and Florida. Last time out, UTC defeated Hampton in McKenzie Arena, 64-52.
Prior to the start of the season, Chattanooga was picked to finish second in the league in both the coaches and the media polls. Lakelyn Bouldin and Keiana Gilbert were each named to the preseason All-SoCon teams.
Three Mocs average double figures, led by Aryanna Gilbert. She has started all 14 games and averages 14.5 points per game. The redshirt senior shoots 50-percent from the field and adds a 42-percent average from 3-point range. She has dished out 39 assists on the year. Bouldin adds 13.9 points per game and shoots 40-percent from the floor. She leads the team with 31 made 3-pointers and shoots at 43-percent from deep. The senior guard closed out the non-conference season with a huge outing, scoring 32 points and going 6-of-8 from deep in the victory. Keiana Gilbert adds 12.8 points per game and leads the team with 38.3 minutes played per game. She scored a season-high 27 points in the victory at Indiana.
The Mocs defense is one of the best in the league, holding opponents to 58.0 points per game. UTC leads the SoCon by shooting 40-percent from 3-point range as it has hit 92 shots from deep this season. UTC’s length has presented an issue for several opponents as they block 3.7 opponent shots per game.