ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville women's basketball team will play at home Thursday night when the Bulldogs host defending Big South Conference champion Liberty at Kimmel Arena starting at 7 p.m.
Thursday's game can be seen via video-streaming for a small fee at www.uncabulldogs.com under the multimedia tag.
Asheville (2-24, 0-15 BSC) faces a huge challenge in facing the Big South-leading Lady Flames (20-6, 12-2 BSC). Liberty has won seven straight and is unbeaten on the road this year in the Big South at 7-0. Overall, the Lady Flames has posted nine straight road wins and have not lost a road contest since losing at top-ranked Baylor on November 23.
The Bulldogs are battling hard but only have eight healthy players suiting up for Thursday's game. Asheville has been ravaged by injuries from the start of the season. The Blue & White have lost five players who started last year due to season-ending injuries, including last year's Big South Rookie of the Year and leading scorer Shonese Jones and Leah Wormack, a member of the Big South All-Rookie Team last season.
Prior to Thursday's game, the Bulldogs will honor senior center Kelli Riles for two milestones she earned last week. Riles became just the second player in school history to have 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds. She is second all-time at Asheville in career rebounds with 1, 009 rebounds and needs just four rebounds to move into fourth place on the Big South's all-time career list. Riles became the 15th player in school history to record 1,000 career points when she scored her 1,000th point at Campbell. She now has 1,004 career points.
Liberty has won the last 12 meetings between the teams. The Bulldogs last win in the series came in Lynchburg in 2007 when Asheville edged the Flames, 54-51 on Senior Night. Liberty has won 15 straight games against the Bulldogs in Asheville. The Bulldogs last win came in Justice Center on Feb. 8, 1997 when Asheville defeated LU, 68-59.
Riles leads Asheville in scoring with a 10.8 average and has pulled down 9.9 rebounds per game.
The teams played in Lynchburg back on Jan. 5 with Liberty winning 75-49. The Flames build a 20-point lead at halftime only to see the Bulldogs make some runs in the second half before LU picked up the win.
Asheville finishes up its home portion of its schedule on Saturday when the Bulldogs welcome Big South Conference-newcomer Longwood to Kimmel Arena at 2 p.m. Following the game, Asheville will honor its three seniors - Grace Blaylock, Gentry Manley and Kelli Riles.
The Bulldogs would like to snap a 17-game losing streak and 27-game losing streak in Big South Conference play dating back to last season.