ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville women’s basketball will welcome Big South Conference foe Presbyterian College to the Kimmel Arena Saturday afternoon, in the first game of a doubleheader that will also feature the Asheville men’s game against Radford. The game is part of the Play 4Kay mission, an initiative of the WBCA to increase awareness and raise money to help battle breast cancer.
The Bulldogs will be taking donations during the contest, as well as auctioning off a pink basketball signed by both the Asheville men’s and women’s teams. Live audio of the game can be found at www.880therevolution.com, and live video can be seen on the Big South Network for a small fee.
This will be the second meeting of the season between the two schools, with PC having won the first matchup. The Blue Hose earned a 62-54 over the Bulldogs on Jan. 16, holding Asheville to just 34 percent shooting on the night.
“We need to have a great game against Presbyterian,” said Asheville head coach Betsy Blose. “Looking back on the first game we needed cut back on our turnovers. We need to welcome the physical play that PC will bring and execute our offense against their man-to-man.”
“We’re also looking for a consistent 40 minutes from our team,” added Blose.
In the last meeting between the two Shonese Jones scored a team-high 16 points with Leah Wormack adding 14 to the Bulldogs’ total. Kelli Riles moved into eighth place all-time in rebounding in the contest with 12 rebounds.
PC had four players score in double figures, with Mariah Pietrowski leading the way with 16. Karlee Taylor scored 14, Dria David scored 12 and Shonda Burnside scored 11 to round out the top scorers for the Blue Hose.
“Pietrowski offers a tough matchup inside,” said Blose. “We just need to embrace the challenge of playing a full 40 minutes.”
Asheville is coming off of a 74-58 setback at Coastal Carolina on Monday evening, as the Bulldogs could not shake off a sluggish start on offense. Coastal had four players score in double figures, with Shatia Cole and Taylor Epley scoring 15 points apiece.
Asheville was led offensively by Gentry Manley, who posted a team-high 14 points in the game. Shonese Jones and Leah Wormack scored 10 apiece for the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs had won three in a row against the Chanticleers and were looking to complete the season sweep for the second year in a row.
PC overcame a 10-point second-half deficit against Winthrop on Saturday, thanks to 20 points from Pietrowski and a career-high 19 points from Kristen Stevens to earn its first Big South Conference road win of the season, 63-60. Stevens hit set a new high water mark with five three pointers and Pietrowski scored 17 of her 20 points in the second half to help the Blue Hose to the win.
PC has won nine games this season, equaling the highest Division I win total for a single Blue Hose season. PC went 9-20 last season, 5-25 in 2009-10, 4-25 in 2008-09 and 2-24 in 2007-08.
Over the last five games, Pietrowski leads the team in scoring, averaging 9.8 points per game. Karlee Taylor ranks second with 9.0 points per contest while Sherece Smith leads the team on the boards, posting a rebounding average of 5.2 per game over the last five.
This will be the 11th meeting between the two schools, with Asheville holding 6-4 advantage over the Blue Hose, However, PC has won three in a row against the Bulldogs, including a season sweep last year.
The two teams share four common non-conference opponents. Furman, South Carolina State, USC Upstate and Montreat College. PC went 3-1 against the group while Asheville went 1-3.
Senior guard Lindsey Thompson needs just 11 points to reach 1,000 for her career. She currently sits at 989 in four seasons with the Bulldogs.
Junior forward Kelli Riles is second in the Big South and is eighth in the nation in rebounds per game, averaging 11.1 per contest.
Freshman guard Shonese Jones was named the Big South’ Freshman of the Week for the week of Jan. 31, marking the third time she’s earned the honor. She has also been named the Big South Conference’s Player of the Week this year.
Despite Asheville’s 3-8 record in the Big South, the Bulldogs have yet to be swept by an opponent this season.
As a team UNC Asheville ranks in the top 100 in the nation in Scoring Offense (87th), Free Throw Percentage (71st) Three-Point Field Goals (83rd) and Three-Point Field Goal Percentage (62nd).
Senior guard Lindsey Thompson currently leads the Big South and is third in the country in free throw percentage, with a mark of 91.4 percent.
The Bulldogs are 7-4 at home this season, including a 3-2 mark in Big South games at the Kimmel Arena.