ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Jessica Heilig scored a career-high 16 points as Gardner-Webb earned its first Big South Conference victory over a short-handed UNC Asheville squad Saturday afternoon 58-45.
The Bulldogs (2-16, 0-7 BSC) played Saturday's game without leading scorer Shonese Jones who went down with a knee injury on Thursday.
Also scoring in double figures for GWU (8-10, 1-6 BSC) was Candace Brown with 13 points.
Asheville was led by senior center Kelli Riles with 10 points and 15 rebounds. It was her seventh double-double of the season. Brittany Gwyn contributed 10 points for the Bulldogs.
Gardner-Webb's defense forced 28 Asheville turnovers and limited the home team to just .273 (9-of-33) shooting from the field. The Runnin' Bulldogs also controlled the inside game as they outscored Asheville 39-10 in the paint.
The Bulldogs scored the first six points of the game and led 6-0 after four minutes to play. Gardner-Webb began to rally as Olivia Parker scored all nine of her points in the opening half. She collected four offensive rebounds and scored on two three-point plays.
The Runnin' Bulldogs also forced 18 Asheville turnovers in the opening half as the visitors scored 14 points off those turnovers. GWU led 23-14 with 3:30 left in the half before the home team rallied to go a 9-2 run to close to 25-23. Parker scored a lay-up to give the Runnin' Bulldogs a 27-23 halftime lead.
Gardner-Webb quickly took charge of the second half as they outscored the Bulldogs 15-2 early in the half to race to a 42-28 lead with 13:12 left.
Asheville could get no closer than 13 points the rest of the game.
Riles scored her 900th career point in the game and now has 905 career points. Her 15 rebounds give her a career total of 939. She is just 12 rebounds shy of fifth place on the Big South's career rebound list held by Megan Frazee of Liberty with 951.
UNC Asheville begins a four-game road trip this Thursday night at Charleston Southern starting at 7 p.m. Gardner-Webb stays on the road and will play at Big South-leader Presbyterian College Thursday night, also at 7 p.m.