Women's Basketball Closes the Regular Season With Western Carolina Saturday
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG women’s basketball closes out the 2017-18 regular season Saturday evening inside Fleming Gymnasium as the Spartans host the Western Carolina Catamounts at 4 p.m. UNCG enters at 11-17 and 5-8 in league play, currently slotted at the No. 6 seed in the upcoming Southern Conference Tournament. UNCG could move up to the five seed with a win and some help. Western Carolina has cemented itself as the No. 8 seed in the tournament, having earned a 5-23 record and is 1-12 in league play. Saturday is also senior day, with a pregame ceremony for Ije Ajemba (Lanham, Md./Old Dominion), the lone senior on the team.
Live stats and a video stream will be available for Saturday’s game. Stats are courtesy of UNCGStats.com and the video stream will be live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Links for these services are located on the UNCG women’s basketball schedule page.
UNCG has won two of the last three meetings but still trail the all-time series 38-27. Earlier this season, UNCG earned an 88-67 victory in Cullowhee with sophomore Nadine Soliman (Cairo, Egypt/Mokattam Language School) scoring a career-high 33 points. Last meeting in Fleming Gym saw UNCG get a 62-45 victory.
Soliman leads the Spartan offense with 14.1 points per game. She is shooting 42 percent from the field and leads UNCG with 41 made 3-pointers on the year, good for 31 percent. She grabs 3.8 rebounds per game and leads the team wit 29 steals. Soliman has led the Spartans in scoring over her first two seasons and needs just 39 points to become UNCG’s 25th member of the 1,000-point club.
Ije Ajemba (Lanham, Md./Old Dominion) continues to average a double-double, grabbing 12.3 rebounds per game and scoring 11.8 points per game. This season, Ajemba has set Division I era school-records for offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds and total rebounds. To set a new school-record across all divisions, Ajemba needs 35 rebounds to break Renee Coltrane’s record of 379 set in the 1983-84 season.
Alexus Willey (Waldorf, Md./Riverdale Baptist) and Te’ja Twitty (Rutherfordton, N.C./Rutherfordton-Spindale Central) average 9.6 and 9.5 points per game, respectively. Willey has hit 38 3-pointers on the season, second most on the team and shoots 35 percent from the floor. She’s second on the team with 19 blocks. Twitty hauls down an average of 6.4 rebounds per game and shoots 46 percent from the floor.
Brandi Fier (South Beloit, Ill./Illinois Central CC) and Alexis Pitchford (Orlando, Fla./Winter Park) have dished out 95 and 55 assists, respectively. Fier has started 17 games and scores an average of 6.6 points per game. Her 33 percent shooting from 3-point range leads the team. Pitchford adds 2.0 assists per game in 17 minutes of play. She’s shooting 33 percent from the floor and has grabbed 22 steals.
In league play, Ajemba and Twitty are the best two rebounders in the SoCon. Ajemba averages 13.4 rebounds per game, best in the league and Twitty hauls down 8.1 trailing only her teammate. Those rebounds have led to UNCG scoring 332 second chance points this season.
Western Carolina enters Saturday’s game with just one win the Southern Conference and five wins overall. The Catamounts defeated Wofford inside Richardson Indoor Stadium for their lone SoCon win of the season. Since that time, WCU has lost three-straight games, averaging 41.3 points per game in the three-game losing skid.
On the season, the Catamount offense averages 55.4 points per game, last in the Southern conference. WCU’s defense allows 63.8 points per game, and the -8.4 points per game scoring margin is the lowest in the league. From the floor, the Catamounts shoot 39 percent and 29 percent from 3-point range.
Sherae Bonner leads the Catamounts on both ends of the floor. She averages a team-high 9.2 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game, appearing in 24 games with 12 starts. Lauren LaPlant averages 8.3 points per game and has hit 32 3-pointers on the season. Judith Martin Ruiz leads the Catamounts with 66 assists on the season. She averages 4.5 points per game and grabs 3.1 rebounds per contest.