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UNCG heads to Asheville, N.C., for SoCon Championship

Courtesy: UNCGSpartans.com
         
Release: February 29, 2012
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No. 11 seed UNCG (4-24, 3-17 SoCon) vs. No. 6 seed Furman (14-15, 10-10 SoCon), March 2, 4:30 p.m., Asheville, N.C., Southern Conference Championship

First and quarterfinal rounds at UNC Asheville's Kimmel Arena
Semifinals and championship at U.S. Cellular Center

LiveStats: UNCGSpartans.com (via SoConSports.com)
Video: SoConTV (first round and quarterfinals, free)
TV: SoCon Sports Network and ESPN3 (semifinals and finals)

UNCG's Southern Conference Championship notes

Storylines

• Eleventh-seeded UNCG will take on No. 6 seed Furman on Friday in the first round of the 2012 Southern Conference Women's Basketball Championship in Asheville, N.C. The teams will play at 4:30 p.m. at UNC Asheville's Kimmel Arena.

• The winner of Friday's contest will move on to face No. 3 seed Chattanooga at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

• The Spartans will be participating in their 15th SoCon Championship since joining the league in 1997-98. UNCG won the tournament that season, but that remains the lone SoCon tournament title in school history. The Spartans are 15-13 overall in the tourney.

• UNCG and Furman have met in the SoCon tournament three times, with the Paladins holding a 2-1 edge. Furman topped the Spartans 68-49 in the 2000 title game, with current Paladin coach Jackie Carson on the Furman roster. UNCG downed the Paladins in the 2002 semifinals, 71-62, while Furman earned a 65-51 win in the first round in 2003. The higher seeded team has won each meeting.

• Furman swept the season series between the squads but won both games by a combined seven points. The Paladins took a 53-48 win in Greenville, S.C., on Dec. 19 and a 66-64 win on Raegan Thompson's 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left in Greensboro on Jan. 21. Janae' Stevenson scored 12 points in the first meeting and 13 in the second for the Spartans.

• UNCG leads the series with Furman, 20-14, but the Paladins have won three straight. In the three seasons in which UNCG and Furman have met three times, UNCG earned the sweep in 2002 and Furman did it in 2003. Furman won two of the three meetings in the 1999-2000 campaign.

Breonna Patterson, a sophomore, leads UNCG in scoring with 10.9 points per game. Stevenson, who is the Spartans' third-leading scorer at 8.1 points per game, leads UNCG with 5.5 rebounds per game. Junior Dayshaun Richbow leads the team with 2.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

• The Spartans seem to have turned things around at the free throw line late in the season. After shooting just 56.1 percent (134-for-239) through its first 21 games, UNCG is shooting 73.6 (81-for-110) at the stripe over the last seven contests, raising its season average to 61.6 percent (215-for-349).

Jarae Savage is on pace to become the first UNCG freshman to start every game of her rookie season since Amanda Eaton did so in 2001-02. Savage has started all 28 games for UNCG so far this season.

• Patterson has hit at least two 3-pointers in eight of her last 11 games.

• UNCG feted seniors Jazz Weaver and Sarah Folwell and redshirt junior Amy Clapper, who will graduate in May, prior to Monday's regular-season finale against Wofford.

• In last season's SoCon tournament, sixth-seeded UNCG trimmed a 20-point second-half deficit down to one but couldn't complete the comeback in falling to 11th-seeded Wofford. The Spartans had been going for the three-game season sweep.

• Furman cleaned up in the postseason SoCon awards, headlined by Brittany Hodges being named the league's freshman of the year and to the SoCon All-Freshman Team by the coaches. Lashana Booker took home the Ann Lashley Inspiration Award. Thompson was a second-team All-SoCon selection by the media, with Hodges taking a spot on the all-freshman team there, as well.

• Furman has won two of its last three heading into the postseason, with wins over Wofford and Georgia Southern sandwiched around a loss to College of Charleston.

• For the second straight season, Furman finished 10-10 in SoCon play. The Paladins and Spartans finished tied for fifth last season, but Furman won the tiebreaker and the No. 5 seed, earning a first-round bye. The Paladins fell 69-62 to Elon in the quarterfinals.

• Thompson and Hodges are 1-2 in scoring for the Paladins. Thompson leads the team with 10.6 points per game, while Hodges averages 10.0 and a team-best 6.0 rebounds per game. Kaitlin Murphy dishes off a team-best 4.1 assists per game and is second in the SoCon in free throw percentage at 86.4.

• Furman is 22-26 all-time in the SoCon tournament, winning it in 1995 and 2000.

- UNCG -

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