NASHEVILLE, Tenn. – Playing in their final game before a break for the holidays the UNC Asheville women’s basketball team fell to Vanderbilt, 83-57, on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Gymnasium in non-conference action.
“When you play a team like Vanderbilt, you have to execute for a full 40 minutes and we didn’t do that today,” said Asheville head coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick. “Their one of the best teams in the nation in transition offensively and we didn’t do as much as we should have to take them out of their game. We played well in spurts, but against a team like Vandy you have to do it for 40 minutes.”
Freshman Tianna Knuckles recorded a career-high 17 points for the Bulldogs, who fall to 4-7 on the season with the loss. Brittany Gwyn and Paige Love each had nine points and two assists for the Blue & White, who will not be in action again until Saturday, Dec. 28 when they host Gardner- Webb at Kimmel Arena in a Big South Conference showdown set for 2 p.m.
Vanderbilt was led offensively by Kylee Smith who scored a team-high 17 points off the bench for the Commodores. Three other ‘Dores scored in double figures with Heather Bowe recording 16, Jasmine Jenkins scoring 12 and Marqu’es Webb posting 10 for Vandy.
The Commodores improve to 10-2 on the season and will travel to UAB on Dec. 30 for their next game.
For the game Vandy shot 55.7 percent from the floor while also out-rebounding the Bulldogs 38-31.
The first half saw the Commodores jump out to an early 8-3 lead, only to have Brittany Gwyn pull the Bulldogs to within two after burying a 3-pointer from the wing to cut the lead to 8-6. The two teams would trade buckets back and forth to a 14-10 advantage for Vanderbilt heading into the second media timeout of the half.
The Commodores would come out of the break on fire, going on a 20-to-5 run over the next eight minutes to take a 34-15 lead with 3:33 to go in the half. Asheville’s Leah Wormack would hit the final bucket of the frame, cutting the lead to 38-21 with another half to go.
Vandy shot 47.1 percent in the first half, while holding the Bulldogs to a 25.8 percent mark from the floor.
In the second half the Bulldogs came out stronger than in the first, converting on five of their first six possessions, but Vanderbilt kept them at arms’ length. Asheville cut the lead to 50-37 with 13:24 remaining on a Knuckles jumper, but that would be as close as the Bulldogs would get the rest of the way.
The Commodores would finish the contest on a 33-20 run to earn the 83-57 victory.