GREENSBORO, N.C. – Nadine Soliman’s (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) 21 points weren’t enough as Chattanooga scored 32 points in the second quarter to defeat the Spartans 73-57 Saturday evening in Fleming Gymnasium. The Spartans fall to 10-14 and 4-5 in Southern Conference play. Chattanooga improves to 15-8 and 6-3 in SoCon play.
“Today was not our day.” Head coach Trina Patterson said, “Chattanooga was really good today. We let that second quarter get away from us. They are a very good defensive team and our goal today was to have double-digit scoring in each quarter, but that second quarter did us in. We needed more energy and more of a defensive presence in that time.”
“We did well taking care of the ball today.” Patterson continued, “We had just nine turnovers and when you can see that you had a one-to-one assist/turnover ratio, you feel pretty comfortable with how you took care of the ball. We played well in the second half. Our press was able to force a couple turnovers, but it was too much of a gap to make up to too good of a team.”
Two Spartans scored in double figures as Te’ja Twitty (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) joined Soliman by scoring 10 points on 50-percent shooting from the field. Soliman scored 13 points in the second half and went 3-of-5 from 3-point range.
Ije Ajemba (Lanham, Md./Old Dominion) led all competitors with 12 rebounds and added four points. Brandi Fier (South Beloit, Ill./Illinois Central) dished out five assists in the loss and added seven points, going 3-of-4 from the free throw line.
Off the bench, Aneka Yelverton (Suffolk, Va./Naval Academy Preparatory) added two points and three assists. Mangela Ngandjui (Upper Marlboro, Md./Riverdale Baptist) added eight points, going 4-of-8 from the field.
With the score tied at 11 after the first quarter, Chattanooga used a very balanced attack to take the lead for good. Chattanooga went on a 19-5 run to double up the Spartans at 38-19 with 2:52 remaining in the first half. After Soliman and Ngandjui hit layups on back-to-back possessions, Chattanooga used a Brooke Burns layup and a Bria Dial 3-ball to take its largest lead of the game at 43-23 headed into halftime.
The Mocs shot 72-percent in the second quarter, sinking 13-of-18 shots and were 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Three Mocs scored seven points, led by Keiana Gilbert, Aryanna Gilbert and Dial. Lakelyn Bouldin added five points and Arianne Whitaker chipped in four in the frame.
UNCG shot well in the second quarter, but couldn’t keep pace with the Mocs. UNCG turned the ball over just two times, but failed to force a Chattanooga turnover. UTC also held an 11-4 advantage on the boards in the second quarter, led by Aryanna Gilbert’s five.
The third quarter saw UNCG cut the lead down to 12 after Twitty completed an old fashioned 3-point play with 0:26 left in the quarter. Chattanooga answered as time expired on a Keiana Gilbert layup to extend the lead to 58-44.
The Spartans cut the lead down to 12 late on a Soliman 3-pointer, but Chattanooga closed the final two minutes without allowing UNCG to score another point as Keiana Gilbert scored four points to give UTC the 73-57 final score.
The Spartans are back in action next Thursday, February 8th at 7 p.m. in Greenville, South Carolina as they take on the Furman Paladins in SoCon actin.