UNCG women’s basketball is bursting at the seams with potential.
The group is the youngest squad in Division I women’s basketball – 12 of the 14 student-athletes are first- or second-year students.
They’re young, and they’re talented. They’ve been challenged to step out of their comfort zones and emerge as leaders.
Just ask sophomore Alexis Pitchford.
“I wouldn’t say it’s been easy,” said Pitchford, a co-captain alongside sophomore Te’ja Twitty. “I’m working to become a better leader every single day. I want my teammates to know I always have their back.”
Last year, with six seniors leading the way, the Spartans had a historic season: 20 wins, a postseason run and three players with all-conference nods. Head Coach Trina Patterson, in her first year at UNCG, was named Southern Conference Coach of the Year.
Despite their youth, the Spartans are working toward replicating that kind of success this year.
“I want to keep winning. We want to reestablish a winning tradition here,” Twitty said.
To do that, Patterson is cultivating a culture that emphasizes hard work and enthusiasm.
“We defend. We rebound. We run. We execute. Those are four fundamental aspects of our basketball,” she said.
Patterson is dogged when it comes to success on the court. But she takes success off the court even more seriously. She understands that her role is more than coaching – it’s counseling young women.
“At the end of the day, we’re building citizens – women who are going to take their UNCG degrees and do great things in the world,” she said. “It’s encouraging to see them accept the responsibility that comes with being a leader.”
The Spartans kick off home SoCon play this Thursday, facing Wofford at 7 p.m. in Fleming Gym. The first 300 fans in attendance will receive a free UNCG tote bag as part of “Ladies’ Night,” and other giveaway drawings will take place throughout the night. On Saturday, the team will compete against Furman at 4 p.m. in Fleming Gym.
Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications
Photography by Carlos Morales, UNCG Athletics