GREENSBORO, N.C. – Te’ja Twitty (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) and Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) each tallied 20 points as UNCG defeated the VCU Rams, 74-61 Tuesday night in Fleming Gym. Twitty started the night scoring 16 of her points in the first half. Soliman close the game out, scoring 16 of her points in the second half. UNCG improves to 4-1 on the season, while VCU falls to 0-3.
“I liked the aggressiveness we came out with tonight.” Head coach Trina Patterson said, “VCU is a very aggressive team, and one of our goals was to match their aggressiveness. We didn’t want to foul a lot, and we did a pretty good job of that tonight. We knew that VCU would attack and we made sure that we didn’t allow them to do what they like.”
“Tonight’s game was a grind.” Patterson continued, “I told the team it was a heavyweight fight. We had a great first punch, but in the second round, it went back-and-forth. It was physical game, but we never stopped punching. We played with a lot of heart. I’m really proud of our team.”
Brandi Fier (South Beloit, Ill./Illinois Central) added 13 points in the victory and dished out a game-high seven assists. Ije Ajemba (Lanham, Md./Old Dominion) led the Spartans with nine rebounds and added four points.
UNCG’s aggressiveness in the paint proved to be the difference as the Spartans outscored the Rams 46-26 in the paint. In transition, UNCG used a 14-8 advantage to add to the margin of victory.
UNCG got off to a fast start, taking a 25-8 lead after the first ten minutes of play. The Spartans took advantage of a pair of old-fashioned three-point plays from Twitty and freshman Amesha Miller (Suffolk, Va./King’s Fork) to extend the lead to 16-4. Fier sunk her first three-pointer of the season to put UNCG up 19-4 before an Ajemba jumper gave the Spartans a 19-point advantage with 1:13 to go in the quarter. A Nyra Williams layup with 0:06 left on the clock cut the Spartan lead to 25-8 after the first quarter.
The second quarter saw VCU counter the Spartan attack and cut the lead down to as little as five points. After a Cece Crudup (Richmond, Va./Highland Springs) layup put UNCG back up 19, VCU went on a 14-0 run over the next 4:55. Five different Rams scored in the run, with Delphynia Sparks sinking a layup and a three-pointer. Twitty extended the Spartan lead back out to eight after converting another old-fashioned three-point play and UNCG went into the half leading 36-28.
The third quarter was played evenly as the Spartans outscored the Rams by just two points. After a Soliman layup extended UNCG’s lead to 47-34, VCU countered with a Niya Johnson three-pointer. Alexus Willey (Waldorf, Md./Riverdale Baptist) put the Spartans up 14 after driving through the Ram defense for a layup to lead 51-37 with 3:09 remaining in the quarter. Sparks countered with another three before free throws from Danielle Hammond and Tera Reed cut into the Spartan lead. Reed sunk a layup to cut the lead to 54-44 at the end of the quarter.
Soliman got UNCG going in the fourth quarter, scoring the first nine Spartan points. VCU countered with a 12-2 run to cut the lead down to 61-59 with 4:14 remaining. UNCG went on a 6-0 run of its own, fueled by layups from Soliman and Twitty. Soliman took care of business at the charity stripe, hitting a pair of free throws with 1:29 remaining in the game to close the run. The Rams cut the lead down to 67-61 after a Williams jumper, but UNCG closed the game out on a 7-0 run, with Fier sinking five-of-six free throws in the final minute, and Willey adding a pair of free throws with 0:21 remaining.
UNCG is back in action Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. as it will host the Campbell Camels.