Women’s Basketball Pulls Out 75-72 Victory Over League-Leading Chattanooga
GREENSBORO, N.C. – For the first time since the 2001-02 season, UNCG women’s basketball has defeated Chattanooga on its home floor, defeating the Southern Conference leader 75-72 in overtime Thursday night at Fleming Gymnasium.
“It was a total team effort,” said head coach Trina Patterson. “Monster game from Te’ja Twitty. Our freshmen are really incredible. They don’t play like normal freshmen because of their game experience, they’re fearless. And then the leadership came from out upper classmen. I thought that Bailey Williams did a great job leading the team and Shanese Harris kind of put the team on her back and showed a lot of confidence. Mariah Wilson’s interior defense was phenomenal and she was able to play in control with four fouls.”
The victory ends a 23-game losing streak to the Lady Mocs and is just the third win over UTC in the last 43 meetings. UNCG moves to 15-12 on the year and 6-6 in conference-play, while the Mocs fall to 15-10 and 9-2 in SoCon action.
The Spartans used a red-hot shooting night from behind the three-point arc to pull the upset, nailing 10-of-16 attempts for a 62.5 percentage. The Blue and Gold hit six-of-eight three balls in the second half and overtime alone.
UNCG also earned a 42-34 advantage on the glass, grabbing 13 more boards than the Lady Mocs after the first 20 minutes of action. The Spartans hauled in 18 offensive rebounds, resulting in 24 second-chance points.
The Blue and Gold had five players in double-figures in scoring, spearheaded by Te’ja Twitty’s (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) 16 points and 11 rebounds, her fifth double-double of the season. Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) chipped in 15 points, while Alexis Pitchford (Orlando, Fla./Winter Park) added 13 points. Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) pitched in 12 points and six boards and Shanese Harris (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) came off the bench to score 10 points.
For UTC, Jasmine Joyner led the way with 20 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. Lakelyn Bouldin (15), Chelsey Shumpert (13) and Keiana Gilbert (10) joined Joyner in double-figures. The Lady Mocs swatted away eight shots in the contest and dished out 14 assists.
While jubilation was the consensus emotion at the final whistle, things didn’t start off so smoothly for UNCG. Chattanooga started off the game on a 9-0 run, holding the Spartans scoreless through the first 5:43. Alexus Willey (Waldorf, Md./Riverdale Baptist) finally broke through, sinking a three at the 4:17 mark.
While the first quarter didn’t start well for UNCG, it sure finished well. The Spartans closed on a 15-4 run to take a two point lead into the second quarter. Willey was on fire in the first, drilling all three of her attempts from behind the arc.
The second quarter saw the Lady Mocs regain their footing, outscoring UNCG 20-15 in the quarter to hit the break with a 33-30 advantage. UTC sank nine-of-14 attempts from the field in the period, outscoring the Spartans 6-0 in second-chance points.
UNCG opened the third quarter with a flurry, draining three-straight three pointers to seize a six-point lead. However, Chattanooga quickly responded and a few minutes later the Spartans found themselves behind again. A 2-for-2 showing at the charity stripe by Twitty in the dying seconds cut the deficit to 54-50 for UNCG going into the final stanza.
In the fourth, Harris took over scoring all 10 of her points, making three-of-four shots from the field and four-of-five free throws. After a quick five points by UTC put the Spartans in a nine-point hole, UNCG exploded on a 15-2 run to grab a four point lead with two and a half minutes to go.
However, following a Chelsey Shumpert triple things started to look desperate for the Blue and Gold, especially after a missed jumper by Williams with 24 ticks to go. Willey, though, gave UNCG new life with a tremendous hustle play, diving after a loose ball and ricocheting it off of a UTC defender to keep possession with the Spartans. Harris was fouled on the inbound play and knocked down both free throws to send the game into overtime.
In the extra period, UNCG jumped out to a seven-point lead and held on to end the long drought against the Lady Mocs. Pitchford came up huge in overtime, posting six points, including three-of-four attempts from the charity stripe.
“We struggled with the start but with this team I always talk about having a strong finish,” continued Patterson. “I thought the maturity and comeback attitude fighting through adversity really showed through.
UNCG closes out the home portion of its schedule on Saturday, hosting ETSU at 4:00 p.m. in the Spartans’ Senior Day.