ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Erica Williams scored 21 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds to lead Winthrop to a 68-49 Big South victory over homestanding UNC Asheville Thursday night at Kimmel Arena.


The Bulldogs (5-10, 2-3 BSC) were led by Paige Love with 11 points, while Brittany Gwyn added 10 points and six rebounds. Freshman guard Tianna Knuckles grabbed a career-best nine rebounds. KJ Weaver collected seven rebounds and blocked three shots.


Also scoring in double figures for Winthrop was Samiya Wright with 13 points, while the Big South’s leading scorer Dequesha McClanahan was held to 13 points. She did have 10 assists and eight rebounds. The Eagles (10-3) won their third straight game and stayed perfect in the Big South at 4-0.


Winthrop seized control of the game midway through the second half when the Lady Eagles went on a 19-0 to break a 40-40 tie.  


Asheville trailed by 16 points in the first half but roared back to tie the game at 40-40 on a lay-up from Weaver at the 14:04 mark.


But the Eagles held Asheville scoreless over the next seven minutes as Winthrop scored on eight straight possessions to take a 59-40 lead with 8:06 remaining in the game. Williams scored nine points during the run, while Pamela Decheva knocked down two treys.


The Bulldogs could get no closer than 16 the rest of the game.


Winthrop jumped on Asheville early and sprinted to a 34-18 on a Zoe Vernon trey at the 6:32 mark. The home team began to rally and held the Lady Eagles scoreless over the next six minutes as the Bulldogs went on an 11-0 run to carve the lead to 34-29 on a lay-up from Chatori Major at the 1:05 mark. Winthrop led 36-29 at halftime.


Asheville had a tough night shooting from the floor. The Bulldogs shot just .246 (15-of-61) from the field and 19 percent (4-of-21) from the three-point line. The home team was 15-of-16 from the charity stripe.


Winthrop shot .379 (25-of-66) from the field and .368 (7-of-19) from beyond the arc. The Lady Eagles were a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line.


UNC Asheville travels to Longwood next Thursday (Jan. 9) night for a Big South Conference battle. Winthrop travels to Gardner-Webb Saturday afternoon for a 3 p.m. league contest.