UNCP Basketball Squads Welcome Augusta State On Wednesday
PEMBROKE – Just less than a week removed from wrapping up a four-game road trip at Francis Marion, the UNCP men's and women's basketball teams will return home for the first time since January 22 on Wednesday when they suit up to battle Peach Belt Conference Eastern Division foe Augusta State in a 5:30 p.m. doubleheader in the English E. Jones Center.
The Lady Braves (10-10, 7-5) were victorious in their only game last week as Amelia Partin proved heroic by nailing a 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds left on the clock to deliver UNCP an epic 59-56 win over host Francis Marion on Thursday evening. UNCP controlled the possession with two seconds remaining in the game, but two quick turnovers, one by each squad, permitted the Black and Gold to hold control of the ball on an inbound play. Senior DeDe Cotten collected the assist with the inbound pass to Partin for the open 3-pointer.
Freshman Jazmine Kemp registered her career-high in scoring with 12 points and marked the first double-double of her college career with 10 rebounds. Junior Courtney Bolton led the Black and Gold with 14 points, while senior Domonique Washington chipped in 13. The Black and Gold are led by Bolton in scoring with an average 12.6 points per game, while Cotten chips in 10.0 points per game. Kemp averages a team-best 6.0 rebounds per game, while Bolton and Washington pull down 5.7 and 5.6 rebounds per game, respectively.
Augusta State (11-10, 6-7) has done a modest turnaround since defeating the Lady Braves on January 25, and currently boast a three-game winning streak. The Lady Jaguars captured a 32-point victory over Flagler on Saturday, 63-35, as sophomore forward Jemimah Ashby registered a game-high 17 points, while junior forward Laci Schreiber notched 12 points and nine rebounds. With the win, Augusta State moved into a tie for third place in the PBC East Division with Armstrong Atlantic.
Ashby leads the team in scoring with 10.0 points per game, while Brittany White follows closely behind with 9.6 points per game. Defensively, Schreiber pulls down a team-best 7.2 rebounds per game. Augusta State is currently fourth in the conference in field goal percentage (40.8), 3-point percentage (31.8) and steals per game (11.0).
UNCP and Augusta State will meet for the 40th time on Wednesday in a series controlled by the Lady Jaguars. Augusta State will bring a 27-12 series advantage going into the game, including a two-game winning streak. Earlier this season, the Black and Gold fell to the Lady Jaguars, 59-51, in Augusta, Ga.
The Braves (13-9, 7-5) have dropped four of their last five contests since overtaking first place in the PBC East standings with a 78-69 home win over USC Aiken on January 18. Included in that stretch is a 1-3 road trip that the Black & Gold wrapped up with a heartbreaking 79-74 setback at Francis Marion nearly a week ago. It was the fifth time this season that UNCP has dropped a game decided by five or less points. The Braves boast the league's best field goal percentage (48.0), as well as the PBC's third-best 3-point shooting club (36.2 percent), while also sporting a +5.6 rebounding margin – good enough for second among the 13 PBC schools.
Augusta State (13-8, 9-4) does not have the flashiest numbers in the league, but have demonstrated that it is the best at taking care of the basketball. Boasting a league-low 11.7 turnovers per game, the Jaguars rank in the middle of the pack in a majority of the other statistical categories but have been nearly dead on at the charity stripe with a 71.1 percentage. Winners in five of its last six contests, Augusta State has captured just four of their 11 road outings this season, but has won two of its last four away from Christenberry Fieldhouse.
Freshman Devon Wright-Nelson, who scored a team-best 17 points in a 76-72 win over UNC Pembroke on January 25, leads the Jaguars with 13.2 points per contest on 46.8 percent field goal shooting. Wright-Nelson's supporting cast consists of sophomore Harold Doby who chips in 11.6 points an outing, as well as freshman Devonte Thomas who boasts an 11.5 points per game average. Wright-Nelson is a force on the inside as well where he pulls down 8.1 rebounds per game, while senior O'Neal Armstrong ranks eighth in the PBC with 3.8 assists per outing.
Augusta State will carry a 20-game series winning streak into the contest and have topped the Braves in 23 of the last 24 matchups between the squads. UNCP last tasted victory against the Jaguars by virtue of an 82-78 road decision on Feb. 6, 2002, and dropped all four decisions to Augusta State last season, including an 80-66 setback in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.