Braves Alcenia Purnell battles it out with Wingate Peyton Davis. PN Photo/Andrew Thrift
By: Zachary C. Young, Editor-in-Chief
vs Coker College, Fri., Nov. 12
In their first home game of the season UNCP defeated Coker College by a final score of 66-51. The two schools have met a total of 19 times, with the Braves winning 15 of those. The Braves are 7-1 against Coker all-time at home.
In front of 289 fans, the Braves were able to control the pace of the game from the tip-off. The Braves never gave up their lead or allowed the Cobras to tie the game.
UNCP outscored Coker 14 to 5 in the first quarter, but the Cobras were able to keep pace with the Braves in the second quarter, where both teams recorded 18 points.
The second half was all Braves, outscoring Coker in the third quarter 15 to 8. Allowing zero field goals, but Coker converted 8 of 10 free throws in the third.
UNCP outscored Coker 19 to 0 in the fourth quarter.
Redshirt sophomore Courtney Smith said this type of defensive showing gives the team confidence and sets the tone for the rest of the season.
“We are really pressing on defense. Keep everybody in front of us, and not allow anybody to have easy baskets against us,” guard Courtney Smith said.
Smith said the team is making defense a point of emphasis after allowing opponents an average of 70 points a game last season.
Smith led the Braves with four steals vs Coker. Redshirt sophomore guard Alcenia Purnell led the way for the Braves with 23 points in 32 minutes of play. Purnell was 8-17 from the field, including going 5-11 from three-point range. Purnell also added 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Purnell was efficient, allowing only 1 turnover.
In her career with the Braves, Purnell has racked up 362 points and 99 assists.
Redshirt senior forward, Diamond Fedrick led the braves on the boards, bringing down 8 rebounds and contributing with 4 points on 2 of 4 shooting.
Despite their commanding victory, the Braves allowed 27 bench points and 13 second chance points.
The Braves recorded 17 fast break points, compared to the zero scored by Coker. The Braves had 18 bench points of their own, and 22 points in the paint compared to 8 by Coker.
The Braves defense was the deciding factor in the game. UNCP forced 20 turnovers, converting that into 17 points, compared to the 2 points Coker scored off turnovers.
As a team the Braves shot 40% from 3-point range, but only 39% from the field overall on 25-64 shooting. The Braves made 7 of their 11 free throws.
vs Wingate University, Sat., Nov. 13
The Braves took on the Bulldogs on Wingate University but came up short with a final score of 66-59. In 45 all-time meetings between the two schools, Wingate has won 32 compared to 13 won by the Braves. Currently UNCP is on a 8-game losing streak against the Bulldogs.
Saturday saw an increase in attendance. Lumbee Guaranty Bank court hosted 389 fans for the game.
Her first game back following concussion protocol, forward Gabby Smith led the way offensively with 11 points and 6 rebounds, both team-highs.
“I feel like they look to me to score when I do get touches and help with rebounding and handling other opponents’ post players,” said Smith.
Kelci Adams contributed 10 points and 4 rebounds, and Courtney Smith with 9 points and 4 rebounds.
In the first half, Wingate outscored UNCP 30-23. In the third, the Braves outscored the Bulldogs 19-17, but could not trim the lead in the fourth, being outscored 19-15.
Despite the close score, UNCP recorded 31 bench points compared to 11 by Wingate. UNCP also bested the Bulldogs in fast break points, recording 14 fast break points compared to 3 scored by Wingate.
As a team the Braves shot 36% from the field and 30% from three.
The difference in the game proved to be the 18 free throws made by Wingate, compared to the 8 made by the Braves.
The Braves only attempted 11 free throws in the game.
“That was definitely something that was discussed after the game in the locker room. We felt like we could have been more aggressive, and if we were more aggressive we definitely would have gotten to the free throw line a lot more,” Gabby Smith said.