Courtesy: Photo Courtesy of Tim Cowie

Davidson Escapes Womenís Basketball in Overtime 02-08-2014

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG women’s basketball team rallied from a 17-point deficit with 8:48 to play Saturday to force overtime, but Davidson hit 13 of 14 free throws in the extra session to escape Fleming Gymnasium with a 75-66 Southern Conference victory. The game marked the second-straight year the Spartans and Wildcats have played an overtime contest in Fleming.

The visitors did not make a field goal in overtime, but drained 13 of 14 at the free throw line while the Spartans were 1-of-9 from the field to account for the final margin. UNCG was whistled for seven fouls in the stanza as compared to two for the visitors.

After two free throws by Rachel Piles put Davidson ahead 55-38, the Blue and Gold out-scored the Wildcats 24-7 down the stretch to send the game into overtime. Freshman guard Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) started the run with a three-pointer then hit two free throws with 24 seconds remaining to close the scoring in regulation. Sophomore guard Lucy Mason (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee Charter) had a look from deep to win the game at the buzzer but her attempt bounced off the rim.

UNCG led by as many as three points at 65-62 with 4:08 left in the extra period, but the Blue and Gold could only manage one more point as Davidson ended the game on a 13-1 run.

Williams led four Spartans in double figures offensively with 15 points while senior forward Janae' Stevenson (Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire), Mason and freshman guard Shanese Harris (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) chipped in with 13, 12 and 10 points respectively. Laura Murray paced the Wildcats with 15 points, four steals and three assists.

Stevenson, who was honored before the game for reaching 1,000 career points scored, added two blocked shots in Saturday’s contest to move within two of tying Rebecca Vivrette for the program career lead which currently stands at 121.

Both squads shot just 33 percent from the floor with UNCG hitting 24 of 71 attempts and Davidson knocking down 21 of 62. The Spartans out-rebounded the Wildcats 50-41 and picked up 22 offensive boards – leading to 15 second-chance points. The teams combined for 42 turnovers with UNCG committing 22 of the miscues including 16 in the first half alone. Both squad were credited with 13 assists while Davidson racked up four blocks as compared to the Spartans’ three.

UNCG hurt itself at the free throw line, hitting just 12 of its 23 attempts. The Wildcats had no such trouble, knocking down 25 of 28 including the 13-for-14 performance in overtime.

The first eight minutes of the game saw each team battle back and forth for the upper hand as neither squad could manage more than a three-point lead. With Davidson ahead 13-9 at the 12:26 mark after a Murray three-pointer, junior guard Jessica Collins (Raleigh, N.C./Eckerd) answered with a triple of her own to make it a one-point game. The Wildcats would hold the lead the rest of the half, taking a 28-21 edged into the break after a three-point play by Shneeka Center with 10 seconds on the clock.

Murray netted 11 in the first 20 minutes to lead all scorers while Stevenson dropped in six for UNCG. Davidson out-shot the home side 38.5 percent to 33.3 percent but the Spartans held the upper hand on the glass 19-16. A sloppy first period for both sides resulted in 28 combined turnovers.

A jumper by Harris kept the Blue and Gold close with 16:02 left in the game as the score favored the Wildcats 35-31, but Davidson would out-score UNCG 20-7 over the next eight minutes to take the aforementioned 17-point advantage and set up the Spartan rally.

The Blue and Gold remains at home for its next contest, welcoming Georgia Southern to Fleming Gymnasium Monday. Tipoff between the Spartans and Eagles is set for 7 p.m.

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