GREENSBORO, N.C. – A string of four season-opening contests against Big South opponents continues Saturday for the UNCG women's basketball team as the Spartans host Gardner-Webb. The contest marks the first-ever meeting despite the schools lying just 140 miles apart.
The Blue and Gold searches for its first victory of the campaign after dropping a 76-64 decision to Radford Tuesday at Fleming Gymnasium.
Freshman Lucy Mason scored in double figures for the second time in as many games, netting 16 to lead three Spartans in double figures. Juniors Janae Stevenson and Jarae Savage added 13 and 12 points while senior Sidnei Harmon pulled down a team-best seven rebounds. Stevenson posted three blocked shots during the contest, increasing her career total to 77 – just four away from fourth place on the program top 10 chart.
Both teams forced 23 turnovers and posted 12 steals, but the Highlanders ended up with a 17-8 advantage in assists. Radford also received a good amount of support from its bench as the reserves netted 41 points. The Highlanders fired at a 42-percent clip from the field while UNCG hit 36-percent of it attempts. On the glass, Radford enjoyed a 47-40 advantage with both squads picking up 17 offensive boards.
Gardner-Webb was selected to finish in ninth place this season by the Big South Conference's coaches. For the second-straight season, the Bulldogs will have a lot of young faces on the roster, as 11 of the 15 student-athletes on the squad list are true sophomores and freshmen. Head Coach Rick Reeves' squad will once again face another rebuilding year as the 2012-13 team will have eight newcomers and a total of 11 players that have started less than 10 games at the intercollegiate level.
With injuries to seniors Kim McKenney and Cierra Harris sidelining the two for the season, the Runnin' Bulldogs will look for leadership from juniors Catrina Green, Jasmine Dale and Tabby Koerner, the lone returners from GWU's championship season in 2010-11. Joining Green, Dale and Tabby Koerner, along with the eight newcomers, are second-year players Jessica Heilig, Mayhana Dunovant and Chariah Harris.
GWU enters Saturday's contest with a 3-0 record after an 84-50 home victory over NAIA member Montreat College Wednesday. The Bulldogs were led by Dale, who poured in a game-high 19 points, while Green posted her second straight double-double on the year with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman Olivia Parker poured in a career-high 13 points, as she was 7-of-11 from the free throw line, while sophomore Jessica Heilig had a career-high 15 points and sophomore Chariah Harris hauled in a career-high 11 boards in the win. Sophomore Mayhana Dunovant also chipped in a career-high six assists off the bench for the Bulldogs.
The Spartans own a 121-58 record against current members of the Big South Conference. UNCG has faced off against Campbell (11-1), Charleston Southern (14-3), Coastal Carolina (12-6), High Point (11-10), Liberty (14-7), Longwood (15-11), Radford (11-7), UNC Asheville (14-2) and Winthrop (19-11). The Blue and Gold has never met Gardner-Webb, Presbyterian College or VMI prior to Saturday's game with the Bulldogs.
FROSH LEADING THE WAY...
Freshman point guard Lucy Mason has enjoyed a fine start to her UNCG career as she is averaging a team-best 16.5 points in the Spartans' first two contests. She has led the squad in scoring both times while averaging 30.5 minutes played.
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