ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville women’s basketball team returns to action Saturday afternoon when the Bulldogs host Big South rival Gardner-Webb at Kimmel Arena starting at 2 p.m.
Saturday’s game will be regionally televised by WMYA-TV (TV-40) and can also be seen on ESPN3 and the Big South Digital Network. It will also be broadcast locally on WPEK Radio (880-AM) with the pre-game show starting at 1:55 p.m.
Asheville (4-7, 1-1 BSC) and Gardner-Webb (6-5, 1-1 BSC) are trying to end losing streaks on Saturday. The Bulldogs have dropped four straight, while the Runnin’ Bulldogs have lost their last two contests. In Asheville’s last three losses, it has lost to teams with a combined 24-7 overall record. The Bulldogs fell at SEC power Vanderbilt last Saturday, 83-57. GWU lost to Lipscomb in the consolation game of the Wright State Invitational a week ago, 86-68.
Second-year coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick expects a tough game on Saturday.
“Gardner Webb is an experienced team that returned everyone from an already competitive squad last year. They have some signature non-conference wins and have established themselves as one of the teams to beat in the league this year,” explained Kirkpatrick. “Catrina Green is one of the best low block post players in the Big South, and they do a great job of looking for her in the paint as well as crashing the glass to get themselves second chance points. It will be a battle and we are looking forward to an exciting match-up.”
Junior guard Brittany Gwyn leads Asheville in scoring with a 10.8 average. Freshman guard Tianna Knuckles is next with a 9.5 mark. Junior forward Jeannie Buckner tops the club in rebounding with a 5.5 per game average. Sophomore guard Paige Love leads the team in assists with 31.
Senior center Catrina Green leads the GWU attack with a 15.7 scoring and 10.7 rebounding average. She is shooting .688 from the field. Senior guard Jasmine Dale is averaging 10.7 points per game and has knocked down a team-leading 22 three-pointers.
Gardner-Webb has won the last three meetings between the teams and is 1-1 all-time in Kimmel Arena. The Runnin’ Bulldogs won 58-45 at Kimmel Arena on Jan. 19 and 73-47 on Jan. 31 in Boiling Springs.
Saturday’s game starts a three-game Big South Conference homestand for the Bulldogs over the next six days. Asheville hosts Presbyterian College on Monday night at 7 p.m., followed by a game with Winthrop on Thursday (Jan. 2), also at 7 p.m.
UNC Asheville is 3-3 at home this season.
Junior guard Brittany Gwyn leads the Big South Conference in free throw percentage with a .864 (38-of-44) average. She enters today’s game with 16 straight made free throws.
Freshman guard Tianna Knuckles has scored in double figures in three straight games and was named Big South Freshman of the Week for her play. She has established new career-highs in scoring the past two games with 15 points against North Carolina A&T on Dec. 17 and 17 at Vanderbilt last Saturday.
Asheville’s last home BSC win came against Gardner-Webb on Jan. 21, 2012 when the Bulldogs downed the Runnin’ Bulldogs, 74-62. Asheville looks to end a 15-game losing streak to BSC clubs today.
Leah Wormack and KJ Weaver have combined to block 28 shots this season. The Bulldogs asa team have 42 blocks.
Two different freshmen have led the Bulldogs in scoring this season in Ja’Da Brayboy and Tianna Knuckles.