RADFORD, Va. – Senior forward Kelli Riles moved into second place all-time at UNC Asheville in career rebounds with 10 boards against Radford on Thursday evening, but the Bulldogs could not best the home-standing Highlanders, falling by the final of 66-54 at the Dedmon Center.
Riles posted a double-double on the night, with 20 points and 10 rebounds. She now has 899 rebounds for her career, passing former Bulldog great Wendy Beecher (894) for second place in school history, and first place in the NCAA Division I era.
“Kelli Riles is an amazing player, and really gifted around the basket,” said Asheville head coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick. “That is a personal milestone that she should be proud of. I want her continue to expect that outcome that she had tonight, because she’s definitely capable of a double-double every night.”
Despite Riles’ performance, the Bulldogs struggled with Radford’s defensive pressure. Asheville turned the ball over 29 times in the contest, leading to 28 points for the Highlanders. With the loss the Bulldogs fall to 2-12 overall and 0-3 in the Big South, while RU improves to 6-6 on the year with a 1-2 mark in league play.
“In the first half their game plan was to come out and pressure us,” added Kirkpatrick. “They got us out of our rhythm early. It was really the little hustle plays, the little lack of toughness plays. We gave up too many offensive rebounds. We battled back in the second half but we lost our belief that we were really going to make things happen.”
Radford took a 34-23 lead into the break, thanks in part to three treys in less than a minute by Ayana Avery. The Bulldogs were down 23-18 with just over two minutes to go in the frame before Avery’s rally.
In the first half Riles led all players with 14 points and seven rebounds.
The second half saw Shonese Jones get on track offensively, as she scored 16 of her 19 points in the final frame. Brittany Gwyn also posted a season-high in points with 11 on the night.
RU was led offensively by Avery, who tallied 14 points in the game.
The Bulldogs will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, when they take on Liberty at 3 p.m. in the Vines Center on the campus of the Flames. Liberty is coming off of a 51-49 setback to Presbyterian College tonight, as the Blue Hose picked up their first ever victory over the Flames.