GREENSBORO, N.C. – With the regular season winding down, the UNCG women's basketball team returns home for five of its last six contests, first hosting SoCon and local rival Elon Saturday at Fleming Gymnasium. Tipoff between the Spartans and Phoenix is slated for 2 p.m.
The Blue and Gold played well in two games on the road last weekend, handing Samford a 52-51 setback before falling just short at league leader Chattanooga 74-68. Sophomore guard Jessica Collins (Raleigh, N.C./Eckerd College) poured in a career-high 21 points – including hitting a personal-best four three-point field goals – to lead four UNCG players in double figures. Also hitting for double digits were junior guard Breonna Patterson (Greensboro, N.C./Dudley), junior forward Janae' Stevenson (Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire) and freshman guard Lucy Mason (Stone Mountain, Ga./Chamblee Charter) who dropped in 14, 12 and 12 respectively. Stevenson also paced the Spartans with six rebounds while Patterson and Collins each dished out five of UNCG's 14 assists.
The Spartans shot 47 percent from the floor in the contest (27-for-58), but were out-rebounded by a much bigger Chattanooga squad 42-23. UNCG hit 46 percent of its three-point field goals (5-for-11) and 75 percent of its free throw attempts (9-for-12). An active defense also allowed the Spartans to force 19 Moc turnovers, which led to 12 steals and 17 points off those miscues. UNCG coughed up the ball just 13 times for the second-straight game.
• Saturday's contest marks the 42nd between UNCG and Elon with the Spartans holding a 23-18 advantage in the series. The Phoenix picked up a 71-60 win over UNCG earlier this season at Alumni Gym and have won the last three encounters.
• In the season's first meeting, the Spartans led 34-32 at halftime before the Phoenix out-scored UNCG by 13 in the second period to come away with the win. Stevenson posted her second-straight double-double and third of the season, racking up 17 points and 14 rebounds with nine of the boards coming on the offensive glass. Mason also reached double figures offensively with 12 points to go along with a then career high-tying seven rebounds. She also posted a team-best three steals as UNCG totaled 12 in the contest. The Spartans suffered from a cold shooting second half in which they hit just seven of 33 attempts. The Blue and Gold finished at 30 percent for the contest after knocking down 19 of 64 from the field.
• Elon fell in its last outing, suffering a 65-59 defeat at Samford. Kelsey Evans led Elon with 21 points and seven rebounds, going 9-for-11 from the charity stripe. Ali Ford also finished in double figures with 13 points and four assists. Zora Stephenson went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc to contribute nine points. Elon finished 21-of-59 from the field to shoot 35 percent and 33 percent from three-point range. Samford shot 37 percent from the field, including an impressive 43 percent from long range. The Bulldogs took the slight advantage on the boards, 39-38.
• Today's contest serves as the Spartans' annual pink game to promote breast cancer awareness. The 2013 Play 4Kay initiative (formerly known as WBCA Pink Zone) is an opportunity for a nation of coaches to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for research on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. Since its inception in 2007, the Play 4Kay initiative has raised over $2 million to support women's cancer research. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is the official charity of the initiative.
UNCG continues its four-game homestand Monday, Feb. 18, by welcoming Furman to Fleming Gymnasium for a 7 p.m. tip. The Spartans fell to the Paladins 67-48 at Timmons Arena earlier this season (Jan. 12).
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