GREENVILLE, S.C. – The UNCG women’s basketball team cut a 12-point second half deficit to two but could not quite complete the comeback as Furman captured a 73-64 Southern Conference victory Monday night at Timmons Arena.
Sophomore guard Lucy Mason (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee Charter) torched the nets for a career-high 27 points and also filled up the stat sheet to the tune of five steals, four rebounds and three assists. She knocked down 10 of 17 from the field, becoming the first Spartan to knock down double-digit field goals since Monique Floyd was 11-of 16 at Georgia Southern Feb. 5, 2011. Freshman guard Bailey Williams (Harrisonburg, Va./Spotswood) also netted a career high with 17 points – including a trio of three-point field goals. Freshman forward Jade Scaife (Fort Washington, Md./Archbishop Spalding) led UNCG in rebounding with nine boards (six offensive). As for the Paladins, Brittany Hodges recorded a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Furman (12-8, 6-3 SoCon) shot at least 50-percent from the field in each half to end up at 52.9 percent for the game (27-of-51). Conversely, the Spartans (5-15, 1-8 SoCon) were 23-of-71 for 32.4 percent. UNCG won the rebounding battle 44-34 and recorded more offensive boards (23) the defensive rebounds (21). The Blue and Gold forced Furman into 19 turnovers and tallied 13 steals while also out-scoring the Paladins on the fast break 14-0.
Mason put the Spartans ahead with a jumper 48 seconds into the game before Brittany Hodges answered with a layup on the other end. The score settled at 7-7 after a triple by Williams at 15:38, but Furman went on an 8-0 run capped by a Hodges layup to make the score 15-7 with 13:16 to play before the intermission.
The Spartans cut into the lead a little, as four quick points by Mason made it a four-point edge for the Paladins, but Furman clamped down on defense and sprinted out to a 23-13 lead after another layup by Hodges at 9:50. From there, it was the Blue and Gold’s turn to make a run as UNCG netted six straight to pull within four once more. However, Furman was able to get into the lane with ease and either score or kick the ball back out for a bucket – pulling ahead 29-19 via a Holli Wilkins jumper with 5:21 to play in the stanza.
The Paladins asserted themselves down the stretch and went back up by 10 at 34-24 when Brigid Morrisey knocked down a three with 3:30 on the clock. UNCG was able to keep Furman within shouting distance in the final minutes, out-scoring the Paladins 5-2 to leave the home team with a 36-29 advantage at the break.
Mason led all scorers in the first 20 minutes with 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field and a 4-for-4 performance at the free throw line. Hodges and Wilkins netted 14 and 11 points respectively for Furman. The Spartans made just nine of 33 attempts overall to shoot 27.3 percent in the half and the Paladins ended up at 55.2 percent after hitting 16 of 29 field goal attempts.
The teams combined to turn the ball over 17 times with Furman responsible for nine of the miscues. UNCG also took advantage of its 12 free throw attempts as the Spartans drained nine. The Paladins were 2-for-3 at the charity stripe.
A pair of three pointers by Allison Beasley helped Furman grow its cushion to 45-33 early in the second stanza, but UNCG ignited from there, going on an 11-2 run capped by a Williams three to draw within 47-44 and force a Paladin timeout at 14:02. The Spartans were within 49-47 after a Williams jumper from the top of the key, but five-straight points by Sarah Durdaller extended the Furman edge back to 54-47. The run continued for the home side and a layup by Wilkins made the score 62-49 with 8:36 remaining. UNCG sliced its deficit to five at 67-62 with under two minutes left, but Hodges converted a three-point play at the 1:36 - effectively sealing the game.
The Spartans end their three-game road swing Saturday, Feb. 1, when they make the short trip to Elon for a 2 p.m. tip.
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