ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville women's basketball team looks to pick up its first Big South Conference victory of the season on Thursday when the Bulldogs travel to Gardner-Webb for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
Asheville (2-18, 0-9 BSC) batted hard at Coastal Carolina Saturday afternoon before falling 72-63. Freshman Paige Love led the Bulldogs with 18 points in the contest that was tied with five minutes left before the Chanticleers went on a late run.
Asheville and Gardner-Webb just played recently at Kimmel Arena on Jan. 19 with the Runnin' Bulldogs pulling away for a 58-45 win.
"Gardner Webb has depth and can come at you in waves. It will be important for us to take care of the ball and do a better job of getting after it on the boards this time," explained first-year Asheville head coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick. "I have been pleased with our preparation and the leadership of our seniors during this most recent stretch. Kelli, Gentry and Grace are relishing every opportunity right now to represent this program and performing at their best. We will need great production from them tomorrow night. It's time for everyone to step up their game."
The Bulldogs stay on the road on Saturday and play at Big South-leader Presbyterian College starting at 2 p.m. Asheville then returns home for a pair of home games next week with Charleston Southern on Feb. 7 and Coastal Carolina on Feb. 9.
Senior forward Kelli Riles leads the Bulldog attack with a 10.8 scoring average. She's second in the Big South in rebounding with a 10.7 mark.
Kelli Riles comes into Thursday's game with 965 career rebounds and 937 career points. Riles is approaching 1,000 career points and rebounds. She'll be just the second player in school history to accomplish that and the first in the Division I era. Riles has posted eight double-doubles on the year and four in the last five games.
Freshman guard Paige Love has scored 18 points in back-to-back games.
Senior forward Gentry Manley enjoyed the first double-double of her career on Saturday at Coastal Carolina as she scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Senior guard Grace Blaylock has 35 field goals on the season with 27 being from long-distance.
The Bulldogs are looking to snap a 20-game losing streak against Big South Conference opponents. Asheville's last league win came last year against Gardner-Webb when the Bulldogs downed the Runnin' Bulldogs, 74-62 on Jan. 21, 2012.