GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG women’s basketball team shot 23.3 percent against Western Carolina Friday night as the Catamounts defeated the Spartans 60-49 in a Southern Conference game at Fleming Gymnasium.
UNCG (5-12, 1-5 SoCon) hit just 14 of 60 attempts from the field while Western Carolina (9-8, 3-3 SoCon) knocked down 23 of 51 to finish at 45.1 percent. The Spartans also hit just two of 16 three-point field goal attempts. The Blue and Gold did win the rebounding battle, 42-37, and picked up 17 offensive boards – but UNCG was also plagued by 21 turnovers. The Catamounts turned the ball over 20 times but recorded 14 steals to help in their defensive efforts. The teams also combined for 13 blocked shots.
Freshman forward Jade Scaife (Fort Washington, Md./Archbishop Spalding) paced the Spartans with 10 points and seven rebounds while Rena Wakama tallied 21 points and five boards for the visitors. Alexis Carter also posted four blocks for Western to offset three blocks by UNCG freshman center Mariah Wilson (Atlanta, Ga./North Atlanta). Senior forward Janae' Stevenson (Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire) also totaled eight points, seven rebounds, one block and one steal.
The Catamounts built a 7-2 lead with 3:13 gone in the first half after a jumper by Wakama. A pair of foul shots by Wilson would knot the score at nine at 13:31 before Western scored six-straight points to make it 15-9 with 10:45 to go in the period.
UNCG fought back, going on a 12-5 run which was capped by a three-point play by Scaife and gave the Spartans a 21-20 advantage with 4:37 left in the stanza. The Blue and Gold extended the run to 19-5 as a jumper by Scaife pushed the UNCG cushion to 28-20 with time winding down, but the turnover bug started to bite the home team. Two-straight miscues allowed WCU to net four quick points and a subsequent three by Hana Haden pulled the Catamounts to within 28-27. A free throw by freshman guard Whitney Coleman (Cary, N.C./Cary) stopped Western’s momentum briefly, but the Catamounts would go on to net the final six points of the half and head into the break with a 33-29 lead. In all, Western Carolina ended the frame on a 13-1 run which spanned the final 2:45.
Scaife led the way for UNCG with 10 points and five rebounds in the first 20 minutes while Wakama and Haden scored 15 and 10 points respectively for the Catamounts. The Spartans shot 36.0 percent and allowed Western to fire at a 48.1 percent clip. The Blue and Gold had the better of the rebounding 17-13 and the teams combined for 25 turnovers.
Wakama opened the second half with a layup and Western would lead 37-31 before a pair of foul shots by sophomore guard Jazmine Missouri (Kensington, Md./Academy of the Holy Cross) helped keep the deficit at four. UNCG could not keep the visitors at bay, however, as the Catamounts out-scored the Spartans 10-2 over the next four and a half minutes to enjoy a 47-35 advantage with 11:22 to play. A free throw by Stevenson cut the Blue and Gold’s deficit to nine, 49-40, at 7:25, but Western Carolina allowed UNCG just nine more points the rest of the way as the Catamounts settled for the 11-point win.
The Spartans return to the court Sunday, Jan. 19, hosting Appalachian State. Tipoff at Fleming Gymnasium is slated for 2 p.m.
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