GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG put four in double figures and cut a 14-point second-half deficit to two points but couldn't complete the comeback, falling to UNC Wilmington in the Spartans' home-opener on Monday, 62-58.
Monique Floyd scored a team-best 12 points for UNCG, while Brey Dorsett, Sidnei Harmon and Dayshaun Richbow added 10 each. The 10 points were a career high for both Harmon and Richbow, while Dorsett missed hers by just one point.
UNCW's Brittany Blackwell had the game's lone double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, both game highs. Martha White just missed a double-double of her own with 14 points and nine boards.
UNCG (0-2) trailed 34-20 early in the second half, but began to steadily chop away. The Spartans turned in a 15-5 run to cut it to 39-35 with 11:31 to play, getting at least two points each from six different players in the spurt. After the teams traded buckets, UNCW (1-0) answered with a 10-1 run to stretch its lead back to double figures.
The Spartans had yet another comeback in them, turning in another big run – 16-5 – to bring the game down to the wire. Harmon's pair of free throws with 1:49 left made it a one-possession game for the first time since just under eight minutes into the game, and Floyd's free throw made it a two-point game at 56-54 with 1:22 left on the clock.
The Seahawks would quell the rally, however, putting the game away at the free throw line to escape with the win. UNCW was 6-for-8 from the free throw line in the final minute of action, and got big plays when it needed them, including a blocked shot by White on a Floyd drive and an offensive rebound from Blackwell off a missed free throw.
Harmon got a pair of buckets in the last 16 seconds, but UNCG ran out of time to finish the comeback.
"We responded," UNCG coach Lynne Agee said. "We had four in double figures, and we need that every night out. It was a balanced job and our bench gave us some good minutes. It's a disappointing loss."
UNCG dug its big hole with 26 turnovers, 15 of which came in the first half. The Spartans had nearly as many turnovers as points in the first half, as they found themselves trailing 32-18 at the break. UNCG also shot just 23.1 percent (6-for-26) from the floor in the opening stanza.
The Spartans had field goal droughts of 6:38 and 5:03 in the first half, helping UNCW pull away.
"Very seldom do you win after that," Agee said. "We dug a hole for ourselves and Wilmington showed us what the pace was. We think we play up-tempo, and they just ran us to death in the first 20 minutes."
The Seahawks dominated the paint on the evening, outscoring UNCG there 38-16. UNCW also had 17 fastbreak points to just five for the Spartans.
UNCG did have the advantage with its bench, as the Spartan reserves scored 24 points to just 10 for UNCW's bench.
The Spartans finished shooting 38.8 percent from the floor (19-for-49) after a solid second-half showing (13-for-23, 56.5 percent).
Floyd had a nice all-around game, pulling down a team-best seven rebounds and dishing off a team-high six assists to complement her dozen points.
UNCG returns to action on Monday, Nov. 22, when it heads down to Charleston, S.C., for a contest at Charleston Southern. Opening tip is set for 7 p.m.
UNC WILMINGTON 62, UNCG 58
UNC WILMINGTON (1-0)
Brittany Blackwell 4-9 7-13 15; Martha White 7-16 0-1 14; Kristen Hanzer 3-7 5-6 11; Alisha Andrews 3-4 3-5 10; Jessica Freeman 2-6 2-2 6; Mya Levels 2-2 0-0 4; Treasure Johnson 0-4 2-2 2; Brittany Gamby 0-4 0-0 0; Abria Trice 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-53 19-29 62.
Monique Floyd 4-11 4-6 12; Dayshaun Richbow 3-4 3-6 10; Brey Dorsett 3-6 3-4 10; Sidnei Harmon 4-7 2-2 10; Kendra Smith 3-7 0-0 7; Amanda Leigh 2-8 0-0 5; Breonna Patterson 0-3 3-4 3; Colleen Nosovitch 0-0 1-2 1; Jazz Weaver 0-0 0-0 0; Amy Clapper 0-2 0-0 0; Nneka Awuruonye 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-49 16-24 58.
UNC Wilmington................ 32 30 - 62
UNCG.......................... 18 40 - 58
3-point goals--UNC Wilmington 1-8 (Alisha Andrews 1-1; Kristen Hanzer 0-2; Jessica Freeman 0-1; Treasure Johnson 0-1; Brittany Gamby 0-3), UNCG 4-12 (Amanda Leigh 1-3; Kendra Smith 1-3; Dayshaun Richbow 1-1; Brey Dorsett 1-4; Breonna Patterson 0-1). Fouled out--UNC Wilmington-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds--UNC Wilmington 35 (Brittany Blackwell 12), UNCG 32 (Monique Floyd 7). Assists--UNC Wilmington 10 (Brittany Blackwell 3), UNCG 10 (Monique Floyd 6). Total fouls--UNC Wilmington 19, UNCG 23. Technical fouls—UNC Wilmington-None, UNCG-None. A-468
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