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UNCG women's basketball takes on Mercer at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday in the first SoCon game inside Fleming Gymnasium in 2017
UNCG women's basketball takes on Mercer at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday in the first SoCon game inside Fleming Gymnasium in 2017

Women's Basketball Hosts Mercer in SoCon Home Opener 01-11-2017

GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG women’s basketball opens its Southern Conference home schedule on Thursday night against the Mercer Bears. The Spartans enter the contest with a 9-8 overall record, and are 0-2 in Southern Conference action. Mercer enters 12-4, and 1-1 in SoCon play.

Thursday’s game will be broadcasted on the SoCon Digital Network featuring UNCG’s Scott Wyant on the call.  There will also be live stats available for the contest. Links for both services can be found on the UNCG women’s basketball schedule page.

The Spartans enter the contest after a weekend that saw UNCG drop its first two Southern Conference games of the season. The Blue and Gold is currently winless against the Mercer Bears in the all-time series, as Mercer joined the SoCon just two years ago. The first time the two teams met was in the 1978-79 season when the Bears made their first trip to Greensboro.

 UNCG ranks third in the conference in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by 5.1 points per game. The Blue and Gold defense limits opponents to a .372 shooting percentage, the second-best in the SoCon.  Averaging 41.5 rebounds per game, UNCG ranks first in the conference in offensive rebounds, and second in defensive boards.

Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) and Te’ja Twitty (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) have averaged double figures in their rookie campaigns. Soliman leads all freshmen in the country averaging 18.1 points per game. Twitty scores an average of 10.6 points, and leads the team with 7.6 rebounds per game.

Seniors India Timpton (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) and Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) have played consistent minutes this season.  Williams leads the team with 548 minutes of action. In that time she has shot 31 percent from the field, sinking 17 three pointers.  Williams is second on the team with 53 assists. Timpton has earned 79 rebounds, averaging 4.6 per game.

Mercer enters the contest having split its first two SoCon games last weekend. The Bears defeated ETSU, 72-55 before falling to Chattanooga 74-56. Both games were played in Macon, Ga. A pair of players who earned Preseason All-SoCon honors in Kahlia Lawrence and Sydni Means lead the Bears offensively.

Mercer is second in the league with a 66.7 points per game average, and is allowing 58.1 points per game. That +8.6 scoring margin is tops in the league. In the nonconference portion of the season, Mercer defeated Emmanuel College, Campbell, Florida Atlantic, Kennesaw State, West Georgia, Paine and ETSU at home, with road victories over Illinois, Houston, Georgia Southern, Winthrop and Davidson.

Lawrence leads the Bears, averaging 18.2 points per game, second in the conference. She’s shooting 41 percent from the field, including 34 percent from three-point range. She has earned 26 assists on the season, adding 25 steals. KeKe Calloway has earned a 15.0 points per game average, playing in all 16 games, making five starts. Means has started all 16 games on the year, playing an average of 33.4 minutes per game. She’s shooting 45 percent from the field, and has recorded 103 assists. That total ranks 15th in the country and her 6.4 assister per game average ranks 20th.

The Spartans and Bears tip off at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday in the first Southern Conference game inside Fleming Gymnasium this season.