GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG women’s basketball team faced a sizable early deficit Sunday afternoon against Triad rival High Point, but the Spartans were able to rally back and post an 81-76 non-conference victory inside Fleming Gymnasium. The Blue and Gold has won three of its last four after opening the season 0-2.
Senior forward Janae' Stevenson(Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire) set a program record with her fifth consecutive double-double as she ended the game with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Exactly half of her boards were on the offensive glass and she helped UNCG finish with an 18-9 advantage in second-chance points.
The Spartans put five players in double figures offensively for the first time this campaign with sophomore guard Lucy Mason (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee Charter) leading the way with 17 points. Freshman guard Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) scored in double figures for the first time in her career with 10 points and she also added three assists. Posting a career day was junior guard Jarae Savage (Marietta, Ga./North Cobb) who netted a personal-best 16 points to go along with nine rebounds. Senior guard Breonna Patterson (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley) was the fifth double-digit scorer for the Blue and Gold as she went off for 15 points and was 7-of-8 at the charity stripe.
UNCG won the rebounding battle by a 42-30 margin and shot a season-best 52.7 percent from the field – knocking down 29 of 55 attempts. The Spartans also hit for 67 percent from three-point range as they drained four of six. The Blue and Gold out-scored High Point 38-28 in the paint and 14-6 on the fast break. Both benches played a large factor in the outcome as the teams’ reserves accounted for 75 points.
High Point raced out to a 6-0 lead just two minutes into the game before a jumper by Mason made it 6-3 with 16:28 on the clock. UNCG would go ice cold from the field over the next four minutes as a layup by Jaztmin Johnson capped a 12-2 run which made the score 18-5 at the 12:40 mark.
A three-point play by Stevenson drew the Spartans to within 18-10 with 9:23 left before halftime and a layup by junior guard Jessica Collins (Raleigh, N.C./Eckerd College) capped an offensive flurry for the home team – pushing the score to 20-18 with 7:51 on the clock. A three-point field goal by Mason afforded UNCG its first lead of the game at 21-20 and the Spartans would extend the cushion to 27-20 on a three by Williams. All told, the Blue and Gold turned the 13-point deficit into a seven-point advantage thanks to a 22-2 run.
The Panthers would answer the surge as a triple by Lexi Patterson knotted the score at 29. A pair of layups by Stevenson would put the lead back on UNCG’s side at 33-32 with 21 seconds left, but Stacia Robertson put in a layup of her own inside of 10 seconds remaining to give High Point a 34-33 halftime advantage.
Stevenson led the way for the Spartans in the first 20 minutes with seven points and seven rebounds while Kaylah Keys dropped in 13 points and a pair of Panthers corralled five rebounds. High Point shot 45 percent (14-of-31) from the field and held UNCG to 41 percent (12-of-29). The Blue and Gold held the upper hand on the glass, pulling down 26 rebounds as compared to the Panthers’ 26.
The second stanza was a nip-and-tuck affair for much of the early portion until a jumper by Keys gave High Point a 55-50 edge with 11:49 to go. The Spartans would clamp down on defense from there, however, putting together an 8-0 run capped by a Savage layup which made the score 58-55 in favor of the home team.
High Point would fight back, knotting the proceedings at 64 apiece at the 6:30 mark, but two baskets by Savage helped UNCG maintain control. As it turns out, the Spartans would not trail again. A jumper by Keys pulled the visitors to within one, 69-68, with 4:22 remaining, but the Blue and Gold held on down the stretch and scored 12 of the game’s final 20 points.
UNCG’s seven-game homestand continues Thursday, Dec. 5, as the Blue and Gold entertains Atlantic Coast Conference member Clemson. The Spartans and Tigers will tip at 7 p.m. inside Fleming Gymnasium.
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