Both the Men’s and Women’s UNCG Basketball teams were in action over the weekend, and both teams came away with victories. It started in Cullowhee, North Carolina, with the women’s team routing Western Carolina 88-67. The men tipped off shortly after at 7 p.m. in Birmingham, AL against Samford with a similar result, winning 98-82. This marked the first time since Jan. 13, that both UNCG squads came away with a victory on the same day. It was a big weekend for both programs to perform so well, as they are only a little over a month away from postseason play, and they both know the competition will only get stronger as the move forward.
The win for the women’s team snapped a two-game losing streak and should give them some momentum as they will now return home for the next two games. After scoring only 48 points in a loss to Samford in their previous game, the Spartans exploded for 88 on Saturday afternoon. That was the highest total posted by the women since their opening game, when they hung 96 on Southern Wesleyan. However, their latest victory was at an entirely different level of competition. This was a big moment for the women to have such a strong showing against a conference foe, especially coming on the road, where wins are never easy to come by.
Nadine Soliman led the Spartans, going a perfect 7-of-7 from beyond the arc and scoring a career-high 33 points. Seven 3-pointers ties the record for most made in a single game for UNCG. This was the first road win for the women in conference play as they now stand at 3-4 in the SoCon and 9-13 overall. Up next for the women comes Eastern Tennessee St., who are really strong in conference play, holding a 6-1 record. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m., Thursday night in the Fleming Gymnasium. This upcoming game also presents UNCG with the opportunity to get back to .500 on the season in conference play.
As for the men, the win against Samford now makes five in a row for UNCG. They also saw the offense clicking from the start, as the Spartans posted a season-high 98 points. In the conference games prior to this one, the highest total for UNCG was 72 against The Citadel. Many who have watched the Spartans this season won’t be all that surprised to see this kind of outburst, as it is obvious to see they have great shooting ability, but this may be the first time they have all clicked on the same night.
No stranger to hot shooting performances, Junior guard Francis Alonso made eight of his ten 3-point attempts, leading the team with 24 total points. He is now shooting 47 percent from beyond the arc, which ties him for the best 3-point shooting percentage in the conference with Fletcher Magee of Wofford. Alonso wasn’t the only Spartan with a hot hand Saturday night, as Senior forward Marvin Smith added 18 points to go with his seven rebounds. Another Senior forward, Jordy Kuiper also chipped in with a career-high 16 points, making four of his five 3-point attempts. James Dickey and Isaiah Miller scored ten points each to put a total of five Spartans into double-figures. UNCG cleaned up the glass as well, winning the rebounding edge over Samford 37-19. The Spartans will not have much down time before their next game, which comes Monday evening, as they stay on the road and face Chattanooga. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
This past weekend if anything, proves that both UNCG Basketball teams have very high ceilings. While the men continue to build strength and seem determined to get the NCAA Tournament bid that so narrowly eluded them last season, the women hope they have turned around their season with this last performance. Both the men and women will need to keep up the offensive production as they continue down the stretch and into the heart of SoCon play. Hopefully this past weekends performances will provide the kind of confidence boost every team needs at this point of the season.