GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG women’s basketball returns to the court Saturday night as it takes on the Furman Paladins at 4 in Fleming Gymnasium. The Spartans are coming off of a 66-51 win over the Wofford Terriers Thursday night for the first Southern Conference victory of the season. UNCG is 7-11 and 1-2 in the SoCon. Furman enters at 11-6 and 2-1 in league action after defeating Western Carolina Thursday.
Live stats and a video stream will be available for Saturday’s game. Live stats are available via uncgstats.com. The video stream will be aired on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Jason Patterson and Phil Cox will be on the call, with Kelsey Schaneville doing the sideline reporting.
Last time out, UNCG had four players score in double figures to defeat Wofford. Ije Ajemba (Lanham, Md./Old Dominion) set a new UNCG Division I era school record with 21 rebounds while adding 17 points. Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) added 17 points, a season-high eight rebounds and dished out a new career-high six assists. Te’ja Twitty (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) earned her second double-double of the season, scoring 10 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Aneka Yelverton (Suffolk, Va./Naval Preparatory Academy) scored a career-high 13 points, hitting three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.
UNCG holds a slight 23-22 advantage in the all-time series with the Paladins. The teams split the regular season series last season before meeting in the SoCon Tournament in Asheville. UNCG ended Furman’s season in the first round with a 68-63 victory.
The Spartans are the top rebounding team in the SoCon, out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 5.7 per game. Second chance opportunities have been a been a big part of UNCG’s games as the Spartans outscore opponents by 93 points on the season, with a 24-point differential in Thursday’s game.
Soliman leads the Spartan offense with a 13.3 points per game average. She’s shooting 40-percent from the floor and hit a season-high five 3-pointers Thursday. Furman allows opponents to shoot 34-percent from behind the arc, the highest opponent percentage of any SoCon school.
Ajemba is second on the team with an 11.8 points per game average and leads the SoCon and ranks eighth nationally with 12.3 rebounds per game. She tied a school-record with her ninth double-double Thursday. Nationally, Ajemba ranks 14th with 4.3 offensive rebounds per game, 11th with 8.1 defensive rebounds per game and fourth with 222 total rebounds.
Alexus Willey (Waldorf, Md./Riverdale Baptist) adds 10.6 points per game and has been UNCG’s biggest threat from 3-point range. Willey has hit 27 3-pointers on the year and is second on the team with 13 blocks. Twitty recorded her second double-double of the season Thursday night and she averages 9.0 points per game to go with 5.7 rebounds per contest.
Brandi Fier (South Beloit, Ill./Illinois Central) and Alexis Pitchford (Orlando, Fla./Winter Park) have traded time at the point guard position. Fier leads the team with 63 assists in 16 games. Pitchford adds 34 assists and grabs 1.3 rebounds per game.
Furman enters at 11-6 overall and 2-1 in Southern Conference play. The Paladins started the SoCon season with a narrow 45-41 win over Samford at home before falling to Mercer last weekend. Thursday, the Paladins defeated Western Carolina in Cullowhee with three players scoring in double figures, led by Le’Jzae Davidson’s 16.
The Paladin offense ranks third in the league with a 69.3 points per game average, with three players averaging double figures. Furman is efficient from the field, as it leads the league with a 43.3 shooting percentage. From deep, Furman is effective as it sits third in the league by shooting 34-percent from 3-point land. Furman is tough on the boards, averaging a +4.8 rebounds per game margin. The defense is also tops in the league with 4.1 blocks per game and dishes out 12.6 assists per game.
Cierra Carter is the top player for the Paladins, leading the team in points and rebounds. Carter averages 16.4 points per game, shooting 47-percent from the field and leads the SoCon by shooting 41-percent from 3-point range. Last time out, Carter scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds in the victory over Western Carolina. Carter leads the Paladins with a 6.6 rebounds per game average and has dished out 32 assists on the year.
Davidson is second on the team with a 14.4 points per game average. The sophomore guard shoots 39-percent from the field and leads the Paladins with 40 made 3-pointers. That total ranks second in the league. Celena Taborn has been an impact player off the bench in her rookie season. The freshman forward averages 11.3 points per game and plays 19.2 minutes per game. Taborn shoots 62-percent from the field and has stuffed 16 opponent shots. She’s been a force on the offensive glass, grabbing a team-high 46 offensive rebounds. DeAnneisha Jackson and Kaitlyn Duncan have each started all 17 games and lead the team with 19 blocks each.