ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville women’s basketball team won its opening game in pretty dramatic style.
Sophomore guard Paige Love’s half-court shot as the buzzer sounded gave the Bulldogs a 68-65 homecourt win over visiting Furman Saturday afternoon at Kimmel Arena.
Asheville was led by Brittany Gwyn’s game-high 19 points. Shonese Jones added 14 points, while Love contributed 12 points and four assists. Freshman center KJ Weaver had seven points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
The Paladins (0-1) were led by Holli Wilkins with 16 points and seven rebounds.
"I am really happy for our girls and also with our total team effort. By continuing to play tough through our mistakes and stay focused on the game-plan, we had an opportunity to make and unbelievable play at the end for the win," stated second-year head coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick.
"Furman is a very good basketball team. We learned a lot about ourselves today and will use this experience to get better and grow. It was a great win for our program," added Kirkpatrick
Furman had the ball with 9.3 seconds left and the game tied at 65-65. Wilkins tried to give the Paladins the win but her 15-footer missed with four seconds. Gwyn was able to corral the rebound. She got the ball to Love.
The sophomore guard took two dribbles and then let fly a shot from just beyond half-court. The shot hit the backboard and bounced in as the buzzer sounded.
The officials met and looked at the replay and deemed the shot good giving the Bulldogs the incredible victory.
The Bulldogs rallied to take the lead in the last minutes of the first half. Gwyn hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the home team a 34-30 halftime lead.
Gwyn scored 10 points to lead Asheville in the opening half. Weaver had seven points, six rebounds and three blocks in the opening half.
Asheville built on its 34-30 halftime lead early in the second half and raced to a 46-36 lead on a Tianna Knuckles lay-up at the 15:30 mark.
Furman roared back as the Paladins scored the next 15 points to regain the lead at 51-46. The visitors held Asheville scoreless over the next six minutes. Furman hit three treys in the process to build the five-point lead.
Asheville trailed 61-55 with 4:40 remaining but the Bulldogs tallied the next 10 points to grab a 65-61 lead. Gwyn and Love scored to cut the lead to 61-59 and then three different players hit two free throws each to put the home team in front 65-61 with 2:13 left.
Furman would rally again as Wilkins hit two free throws at the 1:35 mark to knot the game at 65-65.
Each team would have a chance to take the lead but wouldn’t score again until Love’s dramatic shot.
UNC Asheville plays next at Wofford Tuesday night at 6 p.m.