ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville women's basketball team begins Big South Conference play Saturday afternoon at Kimmel Arena starting at 2 p.m. Saturday's game will be broadcast on WPEK (880-AM) Radio. The game will also be video-streamed and can be seen at www.uncabulldogs.com under the multimedia tag.
The Bulldogs (1-5) look to go 1-0 in league play for the first time since the 2009-10 season but have a difficult assignment in Campbell (4-2). Asheville fell to Big East power South Florida on Wednesday night, 77-29. The Camels lost at East Carolina last Sunday, 74-54.
First-year coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick's club is being led in scoring this year by sophomore guard Shonese Jones. She's averaging 10.3 points per game. Senior center Kelli Riles continues to be a rebounding machine. Riles brought down 17 rebounds against USF's towering front-line on Wednesday night. She's second in the Big South in rebounding with an 11.2 average.
Campbell is led by senior guard Tonisha Baker. She has a 12.7 scoring average and is shooting .492 (32-of-65) from the field. Kierra Gaines tops the club in rebounding with a 7.2 mark and is shooting .552 (16-of-29) from the field. The Camels won their first four games of the year before falling to Appalachian State (69-54) and East Carolina (74-54). They own a win over Western Carolina, 55-40.
Campbell won both meetings last season. The Camels downed Asheville 82-62 at Gore Arena early in the league season. The teams played in Asheville at Justice Center in a special promotion with Campbell winning, 74-55. Baker enjoyed a big game against the Bulldogs with 31 points and 10 rebounds.
UNC Asheville is on the road next week as the Bulldogs play at USC Upstate on Dec. 3 before returning to Kimmel to host Columbia College (Dec. 8) and Kennesaw State (Dec. 13). The game with Kennesaw State has a new starting time as that contest now starts at 6 p.m.
Kelli Riles has 819 career rebounds, good for fourth place all-time on Asheville's career rebounds list. She needs 70 rebounds to move into third place past Kim Duncan (888) and 77 to move past Wendy Beecher (894) into second place. When she moves past Beecher, Kelli will become the school's Division I leader in rebounding. Sheila Ford holds the top spot with 2,200 rebounds.
Sophomore forward Jeannie Buckner worked hard on her three-point shot over the summer and it's paid off. She has eight field goals this season and all of them have been three-pointers. Last year, she connected on just one. In addition, Buckner leads the Bulldogs in assists with 15.
Senior forward Gentry Manley has been a real force for Asheville off the bench this year. She enters Saturday's game with a 9.0 scoring average and has been in double figures two of the past three games. Manley scored a career-high 18 points vs. Montreat and then tallied 10 at #25 UNC Chapel Hill on Friday. Gentry was saddled with foul trouble against South Florida and scored six points.