UNCG kicks off four-game homestand against App State on Monday
UNCG (2-11, 1-4 SoCon) vs. Appalachian State (10-2, 4-0 SoCon), Jan. 9, 7 p.m., Fleming Gym
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• After spending more than a month on the road, UNCG finally returns home Monday, hosting defending Southern Conference regular-season champion Appalachian State at Fleming Gymnasium at 7 p.m.
• Appalachian State comes into the contest ranked No. 9 nationally in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25. The Apps have been ranked in the poll at season, entering the top 10 for the first time last week. The Mountaineers are 10-2 overall and 4-0 in league play, half a game behind first-place Davidson (9-5, 5-0 SoCon).
• The Spartans haven't played at home since Dec. 6, when they dropped a 72-42 decision to UAB. Since then, UNCG has been to Richmond, Va.; Spartanburg and Greenville, S.C.; San Diego, Calif.; and Cullowhee, N.C.
• The Spartans have lost seven straight, their longest slide in one season since a 10-game skid in 2010. UNCG did have a seven-game losing streak bridging last season and this season, dropping its final four games of the 2010-11 campaign and the first three of the 2011-12 season.
• UNCG fell at Western Carolina on Saturday, 62-29. The game was a tight one in the early going, but the Catamounts started the second half on a 14-0 run and never looked back. Natalie Headley led UNCG with 11 points. The Spartans shot just 22.6 from the floor for the game (12-for-53), including just 6.3 percent from 3-point range (1-for-16).
• Sophomore point guard Breonna Patterson, who has missed several games with injuries this season. Classmate Janae' Stevenson is UNCG's second-leading scorer at 8.4 points per game, while freshman Jarae Savage leads the team with 4.8 rebounds per game. Junior Dayshaun Richbow leads the team with 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game.
• Entering the weekend, UNCG was one of just two teams in the Southern Conference with a positive turnover margin. Appalachian State is first at +5.09, while the Spartans are second at +1.25.
• UNCG leads the series with Appalachian State, 28-27. The Mountaineers have won the last four, sweeping the home-and-home series in each of the last two seasons.
• Appalachian State took an 83-72 win in last season's first meeting, in Greensboro on Jan. 22. Amanda Leigh scored 26 points and Monique Floyd added 20 for the Spartans, but the Apps outscored UNCG 60-14 in the paint for the win. Sam Ramirez had a team-best 20 for the Mountaineers.
• In the season's second meeting, UNCG held a halftime lead over the SoCon champs, but Appalachian State shot a sizzling 61.8 percent in the second frame to pull off the comeback in an 80-57 win in the regular-season finale for both teams. App's Anna Freeman, a native of nearby Thomasville, N.C., had 19 points and 15 rebounds, both team highs.
• Appalachian State is off to hot start on the season, with its only losses coming to Virginia and Georgia. The Apps turned in an eight-game winning streak after the season-opening loss to the Cavaliers.
• Former UNCG player Gini Grimsley is a graduate assistant for the Mountaineers, and will be returning to Greensboro for the first time on the opposing bench. Grimsley, who played for UNCG from 2005-09, played 120 games for the Spartans, the most in their Division I history and second-most in school history overall. The versatile Grimsley is also the only player in school history in the top six in both career 3-pointers and blocked shots. She led UNCG in scoring (10.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.1 rpg) as a senior.
• Freeman leads App in scoring at a SoCon-best 17.4 points per game, while Courtney Freeman (no relation) is second for the Mountaineers at 13.4. Kelsey Sharkey pulls down a team-best 7.5 rebounds per game and Anna Freeman is eighth nationally with 3.9 steals per game. Chakeitha Weldon leads the team with 3.3 assists per game.
• Anna Freeman is a two-time All-SoCon pick and was last season's SoCon Defensive Player of the Year. She was a preseason all-league pick this year.
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