ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville women's basketball team is on the road this weekend as the Bulldogs will play two Big South road games in the state of Virginia. Asheville faces Radford Thursday at 7 p.m., followed by a date at Liberty Saturday at 3 p.m.
Both games will be audio-streamed and can be heard at www.uncabulldogs.com. Click on the women's schedule to listen to the game. The games can also be seen via video-streaming at www.uncabulldogs.com under the multimedia tag.
"Both Radford and Liberty are very tough teams and we will need to continue to play with the same effort as we did against High Point and be sharper on offense to give ourselves an opportunity to win on the road," commented first-year coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick. "Our girls have been committed to playing better defense and also sticking together to play through adversity on the court. We are collectively much tougher and more determined than we were at the beginning of the year. I am proud of our improvements and the growth we have had and hopefully we will continue on this path."
The Bulldogs (2-11, 0-2 BSC) are coming off a tough 58-57 home loss to High Point Saturday afternoon. Asheville led for much of the game against the Panthers but just couldn't get two last-second shots to drop.
Things will not get any easier this weekend. Radford is 5-6 on the year and 0-2 in league play. However, the Highlanders own impressive non-conference victories over Southern Illinois, UNC Greensboro, William & Mary and Norfolk State. RU won both meetings against the Bulldogs last season, 72-62 at Kimmel Arena and 79-67 at the Dedmon Center.
Liberty is the defending Big South Conference champion. The Lady Flames have won 14 of the last 16 conference championships and appear to be the favorite again this season. LU is 10-4 on the season and 2-0 in league play. Liberty had won six of its last seven games going into Thursday night's game vs. Presbyterian College.
Sophomore guard Shonese Jones continues to lead the Bulldogs in scoring with a 14.6 average. She scored 20 points on Saturday in Asheville's near upset of High Point. Senior center Kelli Riles just missed a double-double against the Panthers with 11 points and nine rebounds. She did move into third place on Asheville's all-time career rebounding list as she now has 889 rebounds. Riles needs just six rebounds to move past Wendy Beecher (894) into second place on the career list at Asheville and to become the school's all-time Division l leader in that category.
Asheville returns to Kimmel Arena on Thursday, Jan. 10 when the Bulldogs host Winthrop at 7 p.m.
Radford holds a 43-17 series lead over UNC Asheville. The Bulldogs last win in the series came on Feb. 5, 2011 when Asheville downed RU 70-60 at Dedmon Center.
Only five schools have ever won Big South Conference championships. The schools are Liberty, Radford, UNC Asheville, Campbell and Gardner-Webb. Asheville won its title in 2007 when the Bulldogs downed the Highlanders, 67-57 at Justice Center in the league title game.
The Bulldogs look to snap a 20-game road losing streak this weekend.
Shonese Jones is eighth in the Big South Conference scoring.
Kelli Riles' 10.5 rebounding mark is second best in the Big South.
Asheville's defense is much better this season. The Bulldogs are averaging opponents to score 66.4 points per game, compared to a 74.8 average last year.
The Bulldogs had a season-high 14 steals against High Point on Saturday.