Women's Hoops Eliminates Furman In SoCon Tourney First Round
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Junior Janae' Stevenson (Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire) notched a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, pacing three Spartans in double figures, as 10th-seeded UNCG knocked off No. 7 seed Furman, 73-68, in first-round action at the 2013 Southern Conference Women's Basketball Championship at Kimmel Arena on Friday.
"I am so proud of this team today," head coach Wendy Palmer said. "A big credit to the ladies today for taking care of business. Davidson will be a tough, tough matchup for us tomorrow, but our team is really believing in itself."
UNCG improved to 8-22 on the season and will face No. 2 seed Davidson (19-11) on Saturday at approximately 4:30 p.m. Furman's season ended at 12-18.
Freshman guard Lucy Mason (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee Charter), the league Freshman of the Year, finished with 15 points, while junior guard Breonna Patterson (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley) had 14. Furman senior Teshia Griswold scored a game-high 20 points to pace three Paladins in double figures. Brittany Hodges and Holli Wilkins had 10 points each.
After trailing by 12 points with 6:13 to play, Furman closed to within three on Hodges' three-point play with 15 seconds left. The Paladins applied full-court pressure on the ensuing inbounds play and immediately fouled freshman guard Jazmine Missouri (Kensington, Md./Academy of the Holy Cross) and she went to the line to drain both attempts to make it a two-possession game once more.
Furman got two shots off on the other end in a desperate final push, but Stevenson corralled Wilkins' errant 3-point attempt as time expired to lock up the win for the Spartans.
UNCG led by five at the half and saw the Paladins pull to within three on a pair of Hodges free throws just three minutes in, but Patterson had a pair of baskets in a 9-2 Spartans run that opened up their first double-digit lead of the game at 46-36 with 11:29 to go.
Furman would claw back to within seven points on a pair of Wilkins free throws but UNCG answered with a 10-5 spurt over the next two minutes to take its biggest lead of the game, 64-52.
The Paladins tried to rally, as Griswold hit a 3-pointer to make it a single-digit affair again. UNCG's Jessica Collins (Raleigh, N.C./Eckerd College) hit a pair of free throws to put the Spartans back up by 11 but Sarah Durdaller dropped in back-to-back layups and converted a free throw for a three-point play on the second one to make it a six-point spread.
The teams traded points for the next three minutes before Hodges hit a free throw and then a three-point play to set up a tense final 15 seconds.
Ten of Stevenson's rebounds came on the offensive end of the floor, while the 15 were a school record in SoCon tournament play. UNCG outrebounded Furman 44-34 in the game and 21-11 on the offensive glass.
UNCG trailed for just eight seconds in the contest, as Collins drained a 3-pointer 30 seconds into the game to counter Griswold's opening triple. Stevenson added her first bucket moments later and the Spartans never trailed again. The five-point UNCG win avenged last season's 63-58 loss to Furman in the first round of the tournament.
The Spartans committed a season-low five turnovers.
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