ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville women’s basketball team will attempt to snap a three-game losing streak Thursday afternoon when the Bulldogs host Big South rival Radford at Kimmel Arena at a new time starting at 4 p.m.
With the snow in Asheville area, we encourage fans to watch the game on the Big South Digital Network for free under the multimedia tag at uncabulldogs.com. Students who can walk to the game are encouraged to come over and cheer on the Bulldogs this afternoon.
Asheville (9-14, 6-8 Big South) fell on Saturday at Big South-leading Winthrop, 62-55. The Bulldogs trailed by 15 in the first half before making a determined comeback and fell just short of the upset. Asheville held the high-scoring Lady Eagles to just 22 points in the second half. Paige Love led the Blue & White with 16 points and six rebounds. Sophomore forward Leah Wormack added 10 points and six rebounds.
The Lady Highlanders (6-18, 4-11 Big South) are under the direction of first-year coach Mike McGuire. Radford suffered through a frustrating 15-game losing streak earlier this year but are playing much better as of now. RU has won four of its last seven games, including impressive road wins at Coastal Carolina, Charleston Southern and a 55-53 upset win at Gardner-Webb last Saturday. Junior guard Ayana Avery is one of the top players in the Big South with a 14.9 scoring average and has connected on 79 three-pointers.
The teams met back on Jan. 11 at the Dedmon Center with Asheville pulling out a 68-61 victory. Tianna Knuckles and Love led Asheville with 13 points each. Brittany Gwyn and Shonese Jones chipped in 10 points each. The Bulldogs led 60-59 with three minutes left and held the home team to just two points the rest of the game to pick up their first win at the Dedmon Center in three seasons.
Radford leads the all-time series against the Bulldogs, 45-18. Asheville’s 68-61 win last month ended a four-game Highlander winning streak in the series. RU has never lost at Kimmel Arena. Radford is 3-0 here with two wins over the Bulldogs and a non-conference victory over Wofford here in December, 2011. The Lady Highlanders have defeated Asheville three straight times in “The Land of the Sky.” The Bulldogs are looking for their first season sweep of RU since the 2003-04 season.
Thursday’s game starts a two-game homestand for the Bulldogs. Asheville hosts its annual Pink Game Saturday afternoon against Longwood. Doors will be open at Noon for a Women’s Expo and a shopping event with Asheville’s top retailers until 2 p.m. Buffalo Wild Wings will be donating 2000 wings for Saturday’s game and fans can get them starting at Noon. The Bulldogs face Longwood in a key Big South Conference battle at 2 p.m. Right after the game, there will be a wine and cheese social and then a Fashion Show at around 4:45 p.m. that will feature UNC Asheville student-athletes and celebrities showing off the latest fashions. The day will end with an auction for a one-year lease of a Volkswagen Jetta with the bidding starting at one dollar. Tickets for this exciting event are just $25. Money collected from the game and the events surrounding will go to local breast cancer groups and to the student-athlete scholarship fund at UNC Asheville. You can get tickets at uncabulldogs.com or by calling the Kimmel Arena Ticket Office at 828-258-7900.
Asheville enters Tuesday’s game with a 9-14 record and 6-8 worksheet in league play. The Bulldogs are trying to get to double figures in overall wins since winning 12 in the 2010-11 season. Asheville’s six league wins represents the most by the Blue & White since it went 7-9 in the 2008-09 campaign.
Junior guard Shonese Jones is moving in 1,000 career points. She now has 926 career points and needs just 74 points to become the 14th player in school history to reach 1,000 points. Shonese will be the first player to reach that figure since Kelli Riles scored her 1,000th career points two years ago.
Sophomore guard Paige Love is having a great year for the Blue & White. Over the past 10 games, she’s been one of the top players in the Big South Conference as Paige has scored in double figures in eight of those contests. She now leads Asheville in scoring (10.3) and rebounding (5.7). Paige is second in assists (57) and steals (24). In those last 10 games, Love has led the Bulldogs in scoring seven times and in rebounding on six occasions.
The Bulldogs are much improved across the board this season but one of the biggest areas has been free throw shooting. Asheville leads the Big South and is 21st nationally in free throw percentage at .754. The Blue & White have two of the top three free throw shooters in the league. Sophomore forward Leah Wormack leads the Big South at .866 (58-of-67) with Brittany Gwyn in third place at .813 (65-of-80). Asheville also tops the conference in league games in free throw shooting at .779.