Spartans fall to Western Carolina, 46-35 02-03-2012

For video of UNCG coach Wendy Palmer's postgame comments, click here.

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Western Carolina finished the game on a 14-1 run to take a 46-35 win over UNCG in Southern Conference women's basketball action Saturday at Fleming Gymnasium. The contest was UNCG's Fight Like a Spartan contest to promote breast cancer awareness.

Janae' Stevenson's jumper in the lane gave UNCG (3-18, 2-11 SoCon) its only lead of the second half at 34-32 with 6:08 to play, capping an 11-1 run as the Spartans seemed to have their offense figured out after a sluggish first half. Stevenson's bucket would prove to be UNCG's final field goal of the contest, however, and Western Carolina (8-14, 4-10 SoCon) would tie it about a minute later on Ali Lane's jumper.

Kaila'Shea Menendez put the Catamounts back on top for good with a steal and a layup with 4:34 to play, and WCU ran away with it from there. Baskets by Caitlin Hollifield and Menendez made it a six-point spread at 40-34, and with about a minute and a half left, UNCG was forced to foul.

The Catamounts went 6-for-9 from the free throw line down the stretch to salt away the win.

Menendez scored a game-high 14 points for Western Carolina, while Breonna Patterson and Natalie Headley had nine each for the Spartans. Stevenson pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds, nine of which came in the first half.

"Well, we picked it up in the second half, but then we struggled to score down the stretch," UNCG coach Wendy Palmer said. "We were not getting stops and Western Carolina continued to score. Those things have been plaguing us all year, and we just haven't found the strength to overcome that as a team."
Neither side could have been happy with its performance in the opening frame, as Western Carolina led just 15-11 at the break. The Catamounts shot just 20 percent from the floor in the opening half (5-for-20), but UNCG turned the ball over 15 times in matching the school record for fewest points in a half.

The Spartans clawed back into the game in the second stanza despite shooting just 34.8 percent (8-for-23) while Western shot 58.8 percent (10-for-17).

A Menendez layup to open the second half gave Western a six-point lead, but three straight free throws from Headley and one from Jarae Savage got UNCG within two before a Headley layup tied it at 17.

Menendez quickly put the Catamounts back out in front with a layup on the other end, and WCU would stretch its lead to as many as eight on a 3-pointer by Lane with 10:38 to play.

After the teams traded buckets, UNCG's Nneka Awuruonye knocked down a jumper to start the Spartans' late run. Dayshaun Richbow drained a pair of free throws to make it a four-point game, and Patterson drilled a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 31-30 with just under eight minutes to go.

A Menendez free throw made it a two-point contest before Headley tied it again, this time getting the stick-back after a Patterson 3-point attempt that seemed all but down before popping out.

UNCG got the stop it needed on the other end and Patterson found Stevenson for the jumper that gave the Spartans only their second lead of the day and their first since holding a 10-9 advantage in the first half.

UNCG held a 34-28 rebounding advantage on the day.

The Spartans return to action Monday when they host Elon at Fleming Gym at 7 p.m.


WESTERN CAROLINA (9-14, 4-10 SoCon)
Kaila'Shea Menendez 5-13 4-6 14; Alex Abraham 3-5 3-4 9; Ali Lane 2-5 2-3 7; Janae' McKinney 2-6 0-0 4; Makensey Campbell 1-4 0-0 3; Diamond Hunnicutt 1-5 0-0 3; Shauna Terry 0-1 2-2 2; Caitlin Hollifield 1-1 0-0 2; Rena Wakama 0-1 2-2 2; Kristen Lyon 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-42 13-17 46.

UNCG (3-18, 2-11 SoCon)
Breonna Patterson 3-12 2-4 9; Natalie Headley 3-7 3-4 9; Nneka Awuruonye 3-5 0-0 6; Jazz Weaver 2-4 0-0 4; Janae' Stevenson 1-1 0-4 2; Dayshaun Richbow 0-3 2-4 2; Sidnei Harmon 1-2 0-0 2; Jarae Savage 0-6 1-2 1. Totals 13-40 8-18 35.

Western Carolina..............   15   31  -   46
UNCG..........................   11   24  -   35

3-point goals--Western Carolina 3-11 (Makensey Campbell 1-4; Diamond Hunnicutt 1-1; Ali Lane 1-1; Rena Wakama 0-1; Kristen Lyon 0-1; Kaila'Shea Menendez 0-3), UNCG 1-9 (Breonna Patterson 1-6; Natalie Headley 0-2; Jarae Savage 0-1). Fouled out--Western Carolina-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds—Western Carolina 28 (Ali Lane 5), UNCG 34 (Janae' Stevenson 10). Assists—Western Carolina 6 (Kaila'Shea Menendez 3), UNCG 8 (Breonna Patterson 2; Janae' Stevenson 2). Total fouls--Western Carolina 13, UNCG 20. Technical fouls--Western Carolina-None, UNCG-None. A-503

- UNCG -

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