ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville women’s basketball team looks for its third win in a row when the Bulldogs host Big South rival High Point at Kimmel Arena Thursday evening starting at 7 p.m.
Thursday’s game can be seen for free on the Big South Digital Network and can be accessed under the multimedia tag at uncabulldog.com.
Asheville (4-3, 7-9) has won three of its last four games and swept a two-game road trip in Virginia last weekend. The Bulldogs edged Longwood, 69-65 last Thursday night behind a career-high 22 points from Paige Love. On Saturday, Asheville slipped past Radford 68-61 as the Bulldogs rallied in the final four minutes to pull out the road victory.
Asheville is glad to be back at home but two very tough games await the Blue & White. The Bulldogs battle a talented High Point squad Thursday and take on defending Big South Conference champion Liberty Saturday at 2 p.m. The Lady Panthers are 8-8 on the season and 4-3 in league play. One of their conference wins was a 75-70 victory over Liberty last month.
"It's great to be home after pulling off two hard fought wins on the road ,and I was pleased with the mental toughness that was displayed in both of those games,” stated second-year coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick.
“Our reward is playing one of the best teams in the league in High Point. I have been impressed with the play of High Point freshman guard Kaylah Keys this entire season. She is already one of the most dynamic scorers in our conference and plays with poise and confidence,” added Kirkpatrick. “High Point’s entire team has stepped up in the absence of senior guard Taylor Tremblay, and they are at the top of our league in scoring. It will take a balanced and focused effort on both ends Thursday to pull off a win at Kimmel.”
The Bulldogs are being led in scoring by junior guard Brittany Gwyn with a 10.1 average. Freshman Tianna Knuckles is next with a 9.7 average. Junior forward Jeannie Buckner tops the club in rebounding with a 4.9 average.
Keys leads the Panther attack with a 16.6 scoring average. She’s knocked down 36 treys. Stacia Roberson has a 9.7 scoring mark and is grabbing 8.3 rebounds per game.
High Point has dominated the series over the past few years and won the last nine meetings. Asheville’s last win came on Feb. 21, 2009 when the Bulldogs downed the Panthers, 68-59. High Point swept both meetings last season as the Panthers won at Kimmel Arena, 58-57 and 49-35 at the Millis Center.
UNC Asheville is looking to win three games in a row for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
The Bulldogs are in a five-way tie for third place in the Big South Conference standings. Asheville’s 4-3 league mark is tied with High Point, Gardner-Webb, Campbell and Coastal Carolina.
Asheville has two of the top three free throw shooters in the Big South. Brittany Gwyn leads the league at .836 (46-of-55), while sophomore forward Leah Wormack is third at .820 (41-of-50).
Freshman center KJ Weaver is third overall in the Big South in blocked shots with 26. Her 15 blocks in Big South Conference action lead the league.
The Bulldogs are second in the Big South Conference in free throw percentage at .729
Asheville is second in three-point field goal percentage defense at .292.
The Bulldogs are tied for second in blocked shots with 67 (4.19).
Sophomore guard Paige Love has scored in double figures in three straight games, including a career-high 22 points at Longwood last Thursday. She has averaged 16.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in the last three contests.
Freshman guard Tianna Knuckles has scored in double figures in six of the last eight games.