Spartans move to 4-0 in SoCon with 56-50 win over Western Carolina
CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Amanda Leigh scored a game-high 14 points and UNCG weathered Western Carolina's second-half rally to remain undefeated in Southern Conference play with a 56-50 win over the Catamounts on Monday.
With their fifth straight win, UNCG moved to 7-5 overall and 4-0 in the SoCon for the first time since the 2000-01 season. Western Carolina fell to 3-10 overall and 1-3 in the league.
Monique Floyd was also in double figures for the Spartans, scoring 11 points and narrowly missing her second double-double of the season with nine rebounds. Western's Janae' McKinney did record a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Kaila'Shea Menendez scored a team-best 13 points and Caitlin Hollifield pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds to go with nine points.
The Spartans held a 34-20 halftime lead, but saw the Catamounts cut it to three at 50-47 on a Menendez layup with 1:25 left to play. With momentum fully in Western Carolina's favor at this point, UNCG's Dayshaun Richbow came up with a huge steal at midcourt on the Catamounts' next possession.
Richbow raced in for the layup and was fouled on the play, knocking down the ensuing free throw to make it a two-possession game again.
Western's Emily Clarke drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to cut it to three again, but the Catamounts were forced to foul to stop the clock and Floyd hit three free throws in the last 34 second to put the game away.
UNCG got off to a slow start to the contest, not getting on the board until the 14:10 mark on a Leigh layup. Western, meanwhile, was struggling from the floor itself, as it led just 4-0 prior to Leigh's bucket. UNCG quickly turned it around, as Leigh rattled off seven straight points for the Spartans to put UNCG ahead.
A Hollifield 3-pointer briefly tied it at 7, but Breonna Patterson answered with a 3 on the other end and the Spartans would not trail again.
The teams would trade buckets over the next several minutes, but Janae' Stevenson's layup with just over 4 minutes left in the half kicked off a 14-5 run to put some breathing rooms between the squads.
The Catamounts would not go away, however, opening the second half on 14-6 run to cut it to 40-34 with 11:58 to go. WCU would trim it to four points on a McKinney layup, but the Spartans answered with an 8-0 run to get back up by 12. Richbow started the spurt with a leaner in the lane, and Floyd, who had a tough shooting night to that point, finally got going with three straight buckets to put UNCG up 50-38.
Menendez had five points and McKinney had four in a 9-0 Western run that made it 50-47.
UNCG won despite a pair of lengthy scoring droughts to open each half. In addition to the 5 minute, 50 second scoring drought to open the game, the Spartans didn't score for the first 3:42 of the second half.
The Spartans' five-game winning streak is their first since taking five straight from Dec. 2-21, 2008.
UNCG will continue its stretch of five games in 11 days when it hosts Georgia Southern on Wednesday. That contest is set for a 7 p.m. tip at Fleming Gym.
UNCG 56, WESTERN CAROLINA 50
UNCG (7-5, 4-0 SoCon)
Amanda Leigh 6-12 0-1 14; Monique Floyd 4-12 3-5 11; Janae' Stevenson 4-5 1-2 9; Dayshaun Richbow 3-8 1-1 7; Breonna Patterson 2-3 0-0 5; Kendra Smith 2-8 0-0 4; Sarah Folwell 1-2 0-0 3; Brey Dorsett 1-2 0-0 3; Jazz Weaver 0-2 0-0 0; Sidnei Harmon 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-56 5-9 56.
WESTERN CAROLINA (3-10, 1-3 SoCon)
Menendez, Kaila'Shea 6-19 1-1 13; McKinney, Janae' 4-7 2-4 10; Hollifield, Caitlin 4-11 0-0 9; Clarke, Emily 3-6 0-0 8; Terry, Shauna 2-6 2-4 6; Wakama, Rena 1-3 2-2 4; Hunnicutt, Diamond 0-1 0-0 0; Carroll, Kendra 0-3 0-0 0; Lyon, Kristen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-56 7-11 50.
UNCG.......................... 34 22 - 56
Western Carolina.............. 20 30 - 50
3-point goals--UNCG 5-18 (Amanda Leigh 2-6; Sarah Folwell 1-2; Breonna Patterson 1-2; Brey Dorsett 1-2; Kendra Smith 0-4; Dayshaun Richbow 0-2), Western Carolina 3-13 (Clarke, Emily 2-5; Hollifield, Caitlin 1-3; Wakama, Rena 0-1; Menendez, Kaila'Shea 0-4). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Western Carolina-None. Rebounds--UNCG 34 (Monique Floyd 9), Western Carolina 39 (Hollifield, Caitlin 11). Assists--UNCG 8 (Sidnei Harmon 2; Dayshaun Richbow 2), Western Carolina 5 (Wakama, Rena 3). Total fouls--UNCG 12, Western Carolina 12. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Western Carolina-None. A-185
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