Courtesy: Photo Courtesy of Tim Cowie

Women’s Hoops Rallies For 73-66 Victory At Norfolk State 11-20-2013

NORFOLK, Va. – Senior forward Janae' Stevenson (Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire) exploded for career highs of 24 points and 15 rebounds and the UNCG women’s basketball team ended the game on a 31-12 run to notch a 73-66 road win over Norfolk State Wednesday night at Echols Hall. The Spartans improve to 2-2 overall and drop NSU to 1-2.

“I can’t describe just how proud I am of this team today,” head coach Wendy Palmer said. “The things we are working on in practice are starting to show at game time and I am seeing the progress. The young ladies showed a lot of poise in rallying back from the large deficit and this win is big with a long homestand coming up.”

In addition to Stevenson’s efforts, sophomore guard Lucy Mason (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee  Charter) went off for 13 points while sophomore guard Jazmine Missouri (Kensington, Md./Academy of the Holy Cross) posted the first double-figure scoring performance of her career with 10 points. The two guards combined to go 12-for-14 from the free throw line as well.

UNCG shot nearly 50 percent in the second half to end up at 36.4 percent for the game. The visiting Spartans also out-rebounded Norfolk State by five at 43-38 and picked up a whopping 17 offensive boards. The Blue and Gold held NSU’s leading scorer Rachel Gordon to just four points in the contest while hitting 22 of 31 free throw attempts to finish 71 percent from the line. UNCG also committed a season-low 15 turnovers while forcing 21 by Norfolk State.

The teams traded buckets to begin the game before a three by freshman guard Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) gave UNCG an 8-4 lead. A layup by freshman guard Shanese Harris (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) with just under 17 minutes on the clock put the Blue and Gold ahead 10-8 before both sides hit a small scoring drought. Norfolk State was able to tie the score at 10 after a layup by Ebony Brown at the 13:39 mark.

The NSU Spartans began to push ahead in the middle minutes of the half, going on a 10-3 run capped off by two Rae Corbo free throws and taking a 20-13 lead. UNCG would answer, however, as a layup by Scaife knotted the proceedings at 22 and ended a 9-2 run for the Blue and Gold.

Norfolk State was the first to 30 points in the period thanks to a Rachel Gordon layup which made the score 30-26 with under three minutes left on the clock. Missouri afforded UNCG a slight 32-30 cushion at the 1:50 mark, but a lack of transition defense led to a pair of uncontested layups for NSU down the stretch as the homestanding Spartans took a 36-32 halftime advantage into the locker room.

Stevenson paced UNCG with seven points and eight rebounds in the first 20 minutes while Mason dropped in seven points of her own. The visiting Spartans struggled from the field- shooting just 28 percent (10-of-36) while Norfolk State fired at a 48-percent clip (14-of-29). UNCG out-rebounded NSU 24-20, thanks in big part to 13 offensive rebounds, and forced 13 Spartan turnovers which resulted in 11 points. Norfolk State had the advantage down low in the paint 18-11.

The squads traded runs as the second half began and Norfolk State would lead the game 42-40 with 15:42 remaining on the clock. UNCG went cold from the field for the next five minutes and allowed NSU to amass a large lead at 52-40. After both teams scored back-to-back, the Blue and Gold made its push. A steal by Mason and a three-point play by Stevenson made the score 54-45 before a 13-4 run fueled by Stevenson allowed UNCG to come all the way back and knot the score at 58 – a jumper by freshman forward Jade Scaife (Ft. Washington, Md./Archbishop Spalding) providing the tying points.

As it turns out, UNCG would not trail again despite the home team’s best efforts. Two free throws by Corbo tied the score for the final time at 62 and a layup by Stevenson pushed the visitors ahead by four points. The Blue and Gold put the game away at the line, hitting five of its final six free throws.

UNCG returns home now for a seven-game homestand – beginning Saturday, Nov. 23, against former Southern Conference rival College of Charleston. Tipoff at Fleming Gymnasium is slated for 2 p.m.

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