CULLOWHEE, N.C. – The UNCG women’s basketball team could not overcome Western Carolina on its home floor Monday evening as the Catamounts downed the Spartans 63-51 in a Southern Conference game inside the Ramsey Regional Activity Center. WCU completed the season sweep of the Blue and Gold, having downed the Spartans 60-49 Jan. 17 in Greensboro.
Both squads shot the ball under 40 percent in the contest from the floor with Western Carolina (12-14, 6-9 SoCon) finishing at 35.7 percent (25 of 70) and UNCG (6-19, 2-12 SoCon) turning in a 34 percent performance (18 of 53). The Catamounts also held a slight advantage on the glass, picking up 44 rebounds as compared to 42 for the Spartans. The Blue and Gold turned the ball over 14 times in the second half, ending up with 18 overall while Western finished with just 12.
Senior forward Janae' Stevenson (Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire) filled up the stat sheet to the tune of 10 rebounds, nine points and a blocked shot. The block gives her the program’s career record of 122 – surpassing Rebecca Vivrette. Sophomore guard Lucy Mason (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee Charter) paced the offense with 13 points to go along with three assists while freshman forward Jade Scaife (Fort Washington, Md./Archbishop Spalding) contributed eight points and a career-best 11 rebounds.
Western Carolina seized control right out of the gate, scoring 10 of the first 12 points to lead 10-2 at the 16:10 mark. A layup by freshman guard Shanese Harris (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) cut the deficit to 12-5 with 14:02 left in the first half before the Catamounts answered with a 9-5 run over the next three minutes to push in front 21-10.
The home side would extend its cushion all the way to 15 points, rolling ahead 32-17 at 5:38 on a jumper by Alexis Carter. However, just as in Saturday’s game at Appalachian State, the Spartans rallied and held the Catamounts scoreless for the remainder of the stanza.
Meanwhile, Stevenson went to work down low and earned multiple trips to the foul line. All told, she would score six of the final 11 UNCG points in the half as the Blue and Gold closed on an 11-0 run to pull within 32-28 at the break.
Mason paced the Spartans in the first 20 minutes with eight points and two assists while Stevenson corralled five rebounds. Erika Joseph contributed six points and 10 rebounds for Western Carolina, which shot 36.8 percent (14 of 38) from the field and held UNCG to 31 percent (9 of 29). The Catamounts also held the upper hand in the rebounding column 24-21 – including 11 offensive boards. The teams combined for just nine turnovers.
Any momentum UNCG possessed disappeared as the second stanza began as Western Carolina scored the first four points to push its lead back to eight points. A layup by Mason drew the Spartans within 38-34 with 15:25 to play, but the Catamounts clamped down and extended their cushion to 51-40 at 9:44 off of a layup by Wakama. UNCG would not threaten down the stretch and Western salted the game away at the free throw line.
The Spartans return to action next weekend, hosting their final two games of the regular season. UNCG will square off against Furman Saturday, Feb. 22, at 4 p.m. inside Fleming Gymnasium.