Women’s Hoops Opens SoCon Tournament Against No. 7 Seed Western Carolina
GREENSBORO, N.C. – With the regular season in the rear view mirror, the UNCG women’s basketball team turns it attention to the 2014 Southern Conference Women’s Basketball Championship in Asheville, N.C. The Spartans earned the No. 10 seed in the tournament and will square off against No. 7 seed Western Carolina in Friday’s first round contest at 1:30 p.m. inside Kimmel Arena.
The winner will advance to Saturday’s quarterfinal contest vs. No. 2 seed Furman. The Catamounts swept the season series from the Spartans, winning 60-49 Jan. 17 in Greensboro and 63-51 Feb. 17 in Cullowhee. Western Carolina has captured six straight from UNCG and hold a 6-4 advantage in neutral site matchups. However, the Blue and Gold is 2-0 against the Catamounts in SoCon Tournament play.
The Blue and Gold sports a 7-22 overall record entering the league tournament. The Spartans are averaging 63.6 points per game and are allowing opponents to score 73.1 points per contest. The Blue and Gold owns a -0.4 margin on the glass, averaging 39.4 rebounds and giving up 39.8 boards per game. The Spartans are second in the league in offensive rebounding at 15.7 per outing. In terms of shooting, UNCG is firing at a 36.6 percent clip from the field, 30.6 percent from beyond the arc and 64.1 percent from the free throw line.
Sophomore guard Lucy Mason (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee Charter) leads the team in scoring average at 13.2 points per game while senior forward Janae' Stevenson (Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire) paces the Spartans in rebounding average at 8.0 boards per contest. The Blue and Gold uses its bench liberally as nine players have appeared in 27 or more games.
Western Carolina is 13-16 overall heading into Friday’s contest. The Catamounts are averaging 60.2 points per game while giving up 62.0 per contest. Western Carolina also pulls down 37.3 rebounds per contest while allowing 40.2 - a rebounding margin of -3.1. The Catamounts are shooting 37.5 percent from the field, 32.4 percent from deep and 62.2 percent at the free throw line.
Rena Wakama is the top offensive force for Western Carolina, averaging 10.3 points per game, while Shauna Terry has corralled a team-high average of 5.0 rebounds per contest. The Catamounts have lost five of their last seven contests with the two victories occurring against UNCG and Georgia Southern. As the nine seed in last year’s SoCon Tournament, Western Carolina dropped a 68-51 decision to No. 8 seed Georgia Southern in the first round.
UNCG is the No. 10 seed in the tournament for the second-straight season. In the 2013 tourney, the Spartans upset No. 7 seed Furman 73-68 in the first round before falling to second-seeded Davidson 70-47 the next day in the quarterfinals. Stevenson posted 16 points and a program single-game SoCon Tournament record 15 rebounds against the Paladins.
Follow the UNCG women’s basketball team all season by logging on to www.uncgspartans.com and following the Spartans’ official Twitter feeds @uncgsports/@uncgwbb.