Braves, Lady Braves Travel To Battle PBC East Rival Flagler
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The UNCP men's and women's basketball teams will step back into Peach Belt Conference play on Saturday when the Braves and Lady Braves trek to St. Augustine, Fla., to do battle with East Division foe Flagler.
Tip off for Saturday's women's game is set for 1:30 p.m. inside Flagler Gymnasium, with the men set to play approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of that game.
Senior Domonique Washington registered her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds, but UNCP (6-4, 0-1 PBC) fell short due to more than 25 turnovers as Chowan captured the 54-49 victory over the Lady Braves on Wednesday.
Washington not only led the Lady Braves in rebounding, but in assists with five. Junior Courtney Bolton drained 15 points, and was a force on defense with eight rebounds. Bolton was 4-of-9 from the field and 7-of-9 from the charity stripe.
Leading the squad with an average of 13.1 points per game is Bolton, while Washington adds 11.3. Washington boast a team-high 7.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.1 steals per game.
Flagler (1-7, 0-3) enters into the game with a four-game losing streak having grabbed its only win of the season against Webber International. On average, the team is outscored by more than 18 points and is out-rebounded by more than seven. Shelbi Lindsey and Taye'Lor Trotter average 10.9 and 10.4 points per game, respectively, with Jen Knurek leading the team in rebounding with 6.9 boards per outing. The Lady Saints dropped a 9-point game to Augusta State on Wednesday.
UNCP and Flagler will meet for the fifth time on Saturday in a series controlled by the Lady Braves. The Black and Gold will bring a 3-1 series advantage going into the game, including a three-game winning streak. Last season, UNCP captured two 20-point victories over the Saints.
Having had their four-game winning streak snapped with a 69-68 loss at Mount Olive on Monday, the Braves (6-4, 1-0) will look to snap a trend this season that has them dropping two of three road contests. Although toting a three-game skid into Saturday's tilt with the Black & Gold, the Saints boast a 5-1 record in Flagler Gymnasium this season, with their only loss coming on the heels of a 92-55 setback to Augusta State on Wednesday.
Four players currently maintain double-figure scoring averages, with preseason all-American Shahmel Brackett pacing the team with 13.5 points per game. Junior big man George Blakeney chips in 12.4 points an outing, while also leading the team with 7.0 rebounds per contest. Senior Nathan Priest, who has adapted mightily to his "Sixth Man" role over the last two seasons, books 9.5 points per game, but ranks 30th nationally with 1.9 blocks per contest.
Wednesday's loss to the Trojans – a setback which featured three missed shots by UNCP in the game's final seven seconds - marked the first time this season that the Braves lost despite out-rebounding their opponent. The Black & Gold averages 80.5 points per game, supported mainly by the league's third-best field goal percentage (48.4).
Flagler's current three-game losing streak hums a familiar tune as all three losses have come at the hands of league foes and all have been decided by 31 or more points. The Saints shot just less than 39 percent in a 111-81 loss at Armstrong Atlantic on December 3, but exhibited a different ill on the road against USC Aiken in which they committed 26 turnovers to come out on the wrong end of a 98-67 rout. Augusta State canned 11 3-pointers on Wednesday and held Flagler to just 35.2 percent shooting from the field en route to the 92-55 triumph.
The Saints rank last in the PBC with 21.3 turnovers per game, and also fall in the bottom third of the league in three other statistical categories as well. Flagler is averaging more than 21 turnovers per game in their current losing streak as well.
UNCP is a perfect 4-0 all-time against Flagler, including last season's 110-107 triple-overtime victory in the English E. Jones Center. Two of the four victories have come by better than 20 points.