SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The UNCG women's basketball team shot 67 percent from the floor in the second half Monday and 59 percent overall as the Spartans blew past Wofford 87-75 for their first Southern Conference victory of the season inside Benjamin Johnson Arena. The triumph also marked the first for the Blue and Gold on the road this campaign.
"This victory tonight feels great," head coach Wendy Palmer said. "The ladies played with a lot of emotion and with great chemistry. We had some ups and downs, but I am just so proud of this team right now."
The 87-point outburst and 59-percent shooting performance were both season highs. It was also the most points scored by UNCG since the Spartans dropped 88 on Elon in a 48-point victory Jan. 20, 2007.
Freshman guard Lucy Mason (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee Charter) was sensational, netting a career-high 25 points on 9-for-11 shooting from the field. She was also 2-for-3 beyond the arc and 5-for-6 at the free throw line. Joining Mason in double figures was classmate and guard Ebona Goins (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley) who dropped in a personal-best 16 points while also hitting a trio of three-point field goals. UNCG also benefitted from 11-point performances by two juniors in guard Breonna Patterson (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley) and Janae' Stevenson (Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire). Dishing out six of the Spartans' 21 assists on the night was Patterson, who also tallied three steals.
UNCG's shooting accuracy extended to all parts of the floor as the Spartans nailed six of nine three-point field goal attempts (67 percent) and 13 of 18 free throws (72 percent). The Blue and Gold also won the rebounding battle 31-29 and pulled down 11 offensive rebounds. Effective defensive pressure forced the Terriers to cough up the ball 21 times, leading to 26 points off those miscues and 10 fast-break points.
The furious pace to the game began from the outset as both teams looked to bring their best games. A jumper by Goins tied the proceedings at 13 with 13:32 left in the half before two free throws by Mason capped a 13-6 run and left the score at 26-19 at the 9:15 mark.
Wofford was able to bounce back, scoring the next eight points, as the Terriers snagged a 27-26 advantage when Daniella Motley dropped in a layup with 7:46 on the clock. However, as they did all evening, the Spartans countered, putting together a modest four-point run to assume a 30-27 lead at the 5:17 mark. Logan Morris would end a 9-4 run with layup to give the home side a 36-34 cushion with 2:41 left in the period, but sophomore guard Jessica Collins (Raleigh, N.C./Eckerd College) responded with a three and UNCG out-scored Wofford 7-2 the rest of the half to enter the break with a 41-36 edge.
Mason led the Spartans with eight points in the first 20 minutes while sophomore guard Jarae Savage pulled down four rebounds. UNCG also recorded 11 assists, four by Patterson, and nailed 18 of their 34 attempts from the field (53 percent). The Blue and Gold ended up with a 19-16 edge on the glass with seven offensive rebounds.
Motley hit a layup to pull the Terriers to within 48-47 with 16:17 left in the game before hitting another to leave the Spartans with a 52-51 lead as the clock ticked down to 14:37. UNCG was able to put together the game-defining stretch from there as the defense forced steals and the Spartans converted on the other end. When the dust cleared, UNCG found itself with a 69-54 cushion after a pair of free throws by Savage.
The Spartan edge grew to as big as 18 down the stretch as Goins fired in her third triple to make the score 78-60 with 6:24 remaining. Wofford was unable to come any closer than 11 the rest of the way as UNCG put the finishing touches on quite an impressive outing.
The Spartans look to extend their winning ways Saturday back at home as they host Western Carolina Saturday, Feb. 2. Tipoff at Fleming Gymnasium is slated for 2 p.m.
- UNCG -