RADFORD, Va. – In a game that featured eight tie scores and five lead changes, the UNC Asheville women’s basketball team was able to defeat Radford 68-61 in Big South Conference action at the Dedmon Center on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, Asheville improves to 7-9 on the year, with a 4-3 mark in league play while the Highlanders drop to 2-15 overall and 0-8 in the Big South.
“Radford is one of the toughest teams we’ve faced this year, from a physical standpoint,” said UNC Asheville head coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick. “They fought hard all game long and really limited our opportunities in the paint while in their 2-3 zone. This was a great win for us, and I’m really proud of how the players responded to such a physical game.”
Guards Paige Love and Tianna Knuckles scored 13 points apiece, with Love finishing with a game-high nine rebounds. Fellow backcourt members Brittany Gwyn and Shonese Jones tallied 10 points apiece, with Gwyn dishing out six assists for the Bulldogs.
The Highlanders were led offensively by Breshara Gordon who scored a game-high 14 points off the bench. Gordon also had four assists in the contest for Radford. Ayana Avery tallied 13 points, Kiera McIvor had 12 and Aisha Foy had 10 for the Highlanders, who have now dropped 15 in a row.
Radford took the early lead and held it for most of the first half until Tianna Knuckles tied the game on a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 23 points apiece with 6:24 to go in the first.
Ayana Avery would put the Highlanders back up 25-23 on a fastbreak layup only to see Knuckles hit another trey with 5:18 to go to give Asheville its first lead at 26-25. The two teams traded the lead once again before Shonese Jones hit a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 33-31 halftime lead.
The second half saw the Highlanders and Bulldogs back and forth once again, with Kierra McIvor giving Radford its first lead of the second half at 42-40 with 11:30 to play. The two teams traded buckets back and forth until Gordon was able to score four straight points to give Radford a 50-44 lead with just under 10 minutes to play.
Asheville would claw its way back over the next three minutes, tying the game 50-50 with 6:26 left on a Ja’da Brayboy layup. Radford would retake the lead only to see Leah Wormack put in a jumper in the lane with 2:45 remaining to give Asheville the lead at 58-57.
Gordon would pull the Highlanders within a point at 60-59 with 1:28 remaining, but the Bulldogs were able to hold Radford to two points over the final minute while converting five free throws to pick up the 68-61 victory
The win marked the first victory for the Bulldogs at Radford since the 2010-11 season, a 70-60 win for the Blue & White.
Asheville will host High Point next Thursday at 7 p.m. before welcoming Liberty to Kimmel Arena next Saturday at 2 p.m. as the Bulldogs will open a two-game homestand.