Seniors Nadine Soliman, Te’ja Twitty, Alexis Pitchford, and Alexus Willey started their UNC Greensboro basketball careers three years ago with a 20-win season and an exciting postseason run.
Now, as the veteran players look ahead to the Nov. 5 season opener, they are hoping to once again find that kind of success.
Notching 20 wins would be a “full circle” moment for Head Coach Trina Patterson, who began her UNCG career with these four seniors back in 2016.
But the ultimate goal is to compete for a Southern Conference title. Patterson thinks this could be the year to do something really special as a group.
“They’re older, and you can sense it. They’ve grown in maturity,” Patterson said. “They’re feeding the young players so that the future of the program can move forward. They’re not taking – they’re giving back.”
The Spartans have the talent, too. The team boasts two Preseason All-Southern Conference players in Soliman and Twitty. Soliman is close to reaching 2,000 career points and has a shot at becoming the all-time leading scorer in UNCG women’s basketball history.
While Soliman is excited about the opportunity to break records this season, she’s more focused on contributing to the team and its success.
“My main goal this year is to get Coach a ring,” she said. “I’m trying to get better individually and help the team win.”
Last year, the team struggled on the road. Several games were decided by just a few points.
“We need to be mentally tougher,” said Soliman.
Over the summer, the team spent 10 days in Italy, competing against international squads, bonding as a group, and working to address some of the issues that crippled them last year.
The trip seems to have set the right foundation moving forward. There’s a newfound confidence, and an excitement about what this team will be able to achieve.
“I want so badly for them to have their best year,” Patterson said. “If we can cut the nets down, we would be ending the journey that we started.”
The Spartans open the season on Tuesday, Nov. 5, against Richmond at Fleming Gym. The game is at 5 p.m., before the men’s basketball 7 p.m. home opener against N.C. A&T.
On Sunday, Nov. 10, they’ll take on ACC foe Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. SoCon play beings Jan. 9 against East Tennessee State.
To learn more and to purchase tickets, visit uncgspartans.com.
Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications