ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville women's basketball team looks for its second straight win on Thursday night when the Bulldogs host Kennesaw State at Kimmel Arena starting at 6 p.m.
Thursday's game will be video-streamed and can be seen under the multimedia tag at www.uncabulldogs.com.
Asheville (2-7) knocked off Columbia College on Saturday, 70-48 as Paige Love scored a career-high 18 points. Gentry Manley and Shonese Jones added 16 points each.
"We have had a solid week of practice during this exam break and are excited to get back on the floor to play a game. The girls are beginning to really gel and our offensive and defensive execution has improved greatly this week," stated first-year head coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick.
"It was also nice to have Abra Sickles and Brittany Gwynn back in the line-up as well for a full week of practice," added Kirkpatrick. "Kennesaw State plays hard and certainly will pose a huge challenge for us on Thursday night. They have several perimeter weapons that I have been impressed with and a dominant post player in Sametria Gideon. We will need to play our best team basketball of the season in order to give ourselves an opportunity to win."
The Owls are 2-6 on the season under first-year coach Nitra Perry. After dropping its first four games of the season, KSU has won two of its last four contests, including a 51-50 victory at Jacksonville State on Nov. 28. Senior forward Sametria Gideon leads the Owl attack with a double-double. She's averaging 11.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Kristina Wells is next with a 10.8 scoring average. KSU has been on the road for much of the season as the Owls have played just one home game this year.
Tonight's game is the final home game for the Bulldogs before the Christmas holidays. Asheville competes in the Hatter Classic at Stetson next week with games against Bethune-Cookman and Stetson next Tuesday and Wednesday. The Bulldogs next home game will be on Saturday, Dec. 29 vs. High Point at 2 p.m.
Kelli Riles has 847 career rebounds, good for fourth place all-time on Asheville's career rebounds list. She needs 42 rebounds to move into third place past Kim Duncan (888) and 48 to move past Wendy Beecher (894) into second place. When she moves past Beecher, Kelli will become the school's Division I leader in rebounding. Sheila Ford holds the top spot with 2,200 rebounds. Riles grabbed 15 rebounds at USC Upstate Monday night and has collected at least 10 rebounds in four different games this season. Her 10.6 per game mark is second best in the Big South.
UNC Asheville lost at Kennesaw State last season, 83-79. The Bulldogs led by 11 midway through the second half before the Owls rallied for the win. Gideon scored 25 points for KSU in the win, while Shonese Jones tallied 20 points for Asheville. This was the first meeting ever between the teams.
The Bulldogs are 2-4 at home on the season. Asheville is trying to win two games in a row for the first time since last January.
UNC Asheville has had plenty of injuries this season but this past Saturday, the Bulldogs welcomed back two players to the line-up. Sophomore guard Brittany Gwyn played her first contest of the season after missing the first eight games of the year due to a knee injury. She'll be a key player for Asheville in the backcourt this season. Abra Sickles missed three games after getting hurt at UNC Chapel Hill on Nov. 25. Abra gave the Bulldogs a lift off the bench with 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Asheville will be without the services of sophomore guard Tacey Trammell and sophomore forward Leah Wormack for the rest of the season due to injuries suffered this year.