MACON, Ga. – Nadine Soliman scored a team-high 21 points, hitting 8-of-13 from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, and took sole possession of third place on the school’s all-time scoring list in a tough 85-73 setback to Mercer on Thursday, Feb. 14.
Soliman was one of four starters to top double figure points along with Te’Ja Twitty (15), Cece Crudup (11) and Aja Boyd (10). UNCG (9-16, 3-7 SoCon) capped off the game by hitting 27-of-63 (42.9%) from the floor and 14-of-16 (87.5%) from the free throw line.
The Spartans controlled the glass, finishing with a 31-28 advantage in total rebounds, as Twitty and Aja Boyd hauled in six rebounds apiece. Amesha Miller came off the bench to grab four rebounds, while Crudup also pulled down four.
“Playing against this team, with the history that we share, and being able to score 46 points and limit ourselves to only two turnovers in the first half is great for us,” said head coach Trina Patterson. “The big thing is that we took care of the ball, rebounded well and we were offensive for 20 minutes. In the second half we were hurt by fatigue and we let the wrong players get hot on offense. An example of that was Linnea Rosendal, who got too many clean looks.”
Mercer (17-7, 9-0 SoCon) amped up its defensive pressure in the third quarter and as a result limited the Spartans to 5-of-19 (26.3%) shooting. The Bears’ starting five accounted for all 22 points in the quarter, highlighted by Rachel Selph’s six points. Mercer managed to hit 2-of-3 from beyond the arch, tying the game at 59-all in the process.
Led by Rosendal’s 12 points, which all came from 3-point range, Mercer outscored the Spartans 26-14 in the fourth quarter. The Bears forced UNCG into committing eight fouls, hitting 10-of-12 from the free throw line as a result. Soliman was the primary scorer for UNCG, capping off the quarter with seven points while Pitchford added four.
The Spartans headed into the break with a 46-37 lead after hitting 18-of-29 (62.1%) in the first half. Twitty lead all scorers with 14 points, hitting 7-of-9 from the field to go along with five rebounds (three offensive).
UNCG also got solid first half performances from the tandem of Crudup and Soliman, who contributed nine points apiece. Soliman was a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor, hitting a 3-pointer in the process, while, Crudup knocked down 3-of-7 from the field and was 2-of-2 at the charity stripe.
UNC Greensboro got off to a fast start with a 28-19 lead in the first quarter, taking advantage of 10 points from Twitty, who knocked down 5-of-6 from the floor. The Spartans streaked out to a 5-0 lead, which eventually ballooned to eight, 20-12, on a three-point play by Boyd with 3:47 remaining. Mercer used a 7-2 run to move to within three, but three points each by Alexis Pitchford and Alexus Willey stretched the lead back to nine.
Nine points from Crudup helped UNCG maintain its nine-point lead as the two teams scored 18 points apiece in the second quarter. The Spartans continued their hot shooting, hitting 7-of-13 (53.8%) from the floor in the second half. Twitty, whose offense was limited with her second foul of the game, finished with four points in the frame.
The Spartans now head to Samford for a 2 p.m. clash with the Bulldogs on Saturday, Feb. 16.