Women’s Basketball splits final regular season games

Madison Wyker/The Carolinian

Madison Wyker/The Carolinian

By Daniel Johnson, Staff Writer

Published in print Mar. 4, 2015

Last week, the Women’s Basketball achieved its first in-conference win. In a final send off to two seniors, in two games last Monday and Friday, each ended with the victorious team winning by six points. In both contest, each a conference meeting, Wendy Palmer’s squad showed a type of energy necessary to compete in this week’s conference tournament beginning Thursday at noon.

Game 1: Wofford 59 vs. UNCG 65

Going into the final week of the regular season, the Spartans had faced twelve Southern Conference opponents, and had lost twelve times. Against Wofford however, the team exercised the demons they had faced this year in a defensive shutdown of the Terriers. Though their recurring poor first half shooting was still present (28.2 percent from the field), the team’s suffocating full court press defense forced 26 total turnovers, and gave them 27 total points off turnovers. Junior guard Lucy Mason finished as the only player on either team to reach the 20 point mark, scoring a game high of 23 points. Mason also led the Spartans in assist with four. Her performance from this game, as well as the previous match-up where she finished with twenty-two points and six rebounds total from Saturday’s Furman’s match were enough for her to be named the Southern Conference’s Women’s Basketball Player of the Week.

Game 2: Western Carolina 86 vs. UNCG 80

On the senior night for players Jarae Savage and Jessica Collins, the Spartans hoped to finish off this regular season with back-to-back conference victories. However, the majority of the first half saw the team miss a strong majority of their shots, as the Catamounts of Western Carolina broke the home team’s full court press and take a commanding lead. However, from the end of the first half to the beginning of the second, the Spartans cut a nineteen-point lead to only a two point deficit. Coach Wendy Palmer talked about what was discussed in the locker room leading to the run.

“We talked about some adjustment we needed to make, but when you dig a huge deficit, you use all your energy to getting back in the game” Palmer said.

“We have to be cognizant moving forward, we cannot dig that big of a hole for ourselves.”

An important factor in the difference between the first and second half was the team’s shooting percentage. From only 34 percent in the first half, to almost 40 percent, as well as nearly doubling three pointers and free throw percentages (14 and 46 to 26 and 76), Coach Palmer had her take on the differences.

“It was just better finishing and confidence” she replied. “You have to believe that when you miss a shot, you believe the next one is going to go in.”

Despite a game high 24 points from Lucy Mason, and a 23 point and 13 rebound finale from Jarae Savage, Western Carolina’s 22 for 24 shooting from the free throw line sealed off the match in their favor. With this, the final regular season game, Coach Palmer gave her take on her seniors.

“Though I did not recruit Jarae, she came in the first year I got here and I wished for a different result” she said. “Jess, she transferred in, did not make the team, worked hard all summer, and made the team and just became a starter this year. They both will do extremely well in life.”

Despite the positive words she gave to her seniors, the same could not be said about the year.

“We have had a lot of losses, a lot of hard lessons” she stated. “We just got to continue to grow and get better. Thursday sees the Spartans travel in state to Asheville to face the 26-3 Chattanooga Moccasins in the first round of the SoCon tournament.”

With all that excitement which occurs at the end of the season, especially with a key win and senior night occurring the week before, the Spartans must prepare for an opening match-up where they undoubtedly will be considered the underdog.  On Thursday, the team will face nationally ranked Chattanooga to open up the Southern Conference tournament at noon at the Kimmel Arena, the arena of UNC-Asheville’s basketball and volleyball programs. 

Categories: daniel johnson, madison wyker, Sports

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