ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Dequesha McClanahan scored 23 points, while Taylor Calvert added 21 points and 17 rebounds as Winthrop held off UNC Asheville 65-59 in Big South Conference women's action at Kimmel Arena Thursday night.
The Bulldogs (2-14, 0-5 BSC) were led by a season-high 20 points from Kelli Riles. She also grabbed 11 rebounds. Shonese Jones chipped in 16 points Riles now has 911 career rebounds. It was her fifth double-double of the season.
Aliyah Kilpatrick added 12 points for Winthrop with six steals. She knocked down two key 3-pointers in the second half.
Asheville led 48-42 with 7:22 left after a three-point play from freshman Paige Love, but Winthrop (8-8, 2-2 BSC) scored the next nine points to take the lead for good.
"We played a great 35 minutes but we let is slip away in the final five minutes and that's very disappointing," stated first-year Bulldog coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick. "We've got to learn to play better down the stretch when the game is on the line. We did a lot of good things and played very good basketball for 35 minutes but that was undone in the final five minutes."
McClanahan scored the first points of the run that was culminated by Samyiya Wright's only field goal of the game, a long three-pointer to put the Eagles in front 52-48 at the 5:45 mark.
Asheville battled back and was within 55-53 at the 3:41 mark. The Bulldogs had two chances to tie the game but turned it over twice.
McClanahan and Calvert scored on the next two possessions to push the lead to 59-53. Riles scored the next four points for Asheville to bring the Bulldogs within 61-57 with 1:19 left.
The home team had a chance to get closer on the next possession but a Calvert steal and lay-up push the lead to 63-57. Asheville could get no closer than the final score.
Both teams struggled with their shooting and with turnovers in the opening half. Winthrop shot just .286 (8-of-28) from the field, while Asheville was a little bit better at .304 (7-of-23). The Bulldogs committed 13 turnovers in the first half with the Eagles making 12.
McClanahan scored 12 points in the first half to keep Winthrop in front for most of the half. She was 6-of-6 from the charity stripe in the half. Calvert came close to a double-double in the first half with nine points and nine rebounds. Winthrop held a 23-14 rebounding advantage in the opening half and outscored the Bulldogs 12-5 on second-chance points.
Jones tallied 13 points in the first stanza to keep Asheville within striking distance.
Grace Blaylock dished out seven assists for the Bulldogs. Asheville shot a season-high .875 (14-of-16) from the free throw line. Winthrop was even better at .938 as the Eagles were 15-of-16.
UNC Asheville is off for a week before hosting Big South-leader Presbyterian College at Kimmel Arena on Thursday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. Winthrop travels to Gardner-Webb on Saturday for a 3 p.m. start.