ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Tianna Knuckes scored a career-high 21 points to lead UNC Asheville to a hard-fought 54-47 Big South Conference win over visiting Presbyterian College Monday night at Kimmel Arena.
The Bulldogs’ (5-8, 2-2 BSC) victory snapped a five-game losing streak and was Asheville’s first victory over the Blue Hose (2-10, 0-3 BSC) in four years.
Shonese Jones added 13 points for the Bulldogs. Leah Wormack led Asheville’s efforts on the boards with 11 rebounds. Brittany Gwyn contributed a career-best six assists.
PC was led by Asheville native Karlee Taylor’s 12 points, while Sherece Smith added 10 points and eight rebounds.
“I’m really pleased to get this win tonight against a very well-coached Presbyterian College team that makes nothing easy for you,” stated Bulldog coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick. “We really gutted this one out and made some plays down the stretch when we had to make some. This might have been our biggest win of the year.”
The home team trailed 43-40 after Taylor hit two free throws at the 10-minute mark before the Bulldogs went on an 8-0 run to take the lead for good at 48-43.
Jones hit two free throws and knocked down trey to put Asheville in front 45-43. Paige Love hit a trey on the next possession to push the lead to 48-43 with 6:30 left.
The Bulldogs would only get one more field goal the rest of the way but it was enough to snap a 16-game home losing streak to BSC teams. Leading 50-47 with 33 seconds left, Knuckles scored on a drive to the basket to give Asheville some breathing room at 52-47.
PC had two shots to get closer but could not score. Love was fouled at the 10-second mark. She made both free throws to seal the Bulldog victory.
Asheville knocked down four early treys and sprinted to a 14-6 lead eight minutes into the opening half. The Bulldogs led 20-13 after Knuckles third trey with five minutes to go in the half before PC came alive on offense to take a 26-23 halftime lead.
Taylor had seven of her 10 points in the first half as the visitors outscored the home team, 13-3 in the final five minutes to take a 26-23 lead at intermission.
PC was just 6-of-24 from the field in the first half but went 4-of-9 from the three-point line and 10-of-12 from the free throw line to surge to the lead.
Asheville went 6-of-15 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes but just 2-of-12 from inside to finish 8-of-27 from the field. The Bulldogs didn’t get to the line much and went 1-of-4 from the charity stripe.
UNC Asheville is back in action Thursday night when the Bulldogs host Big South rival Winthrop at Kimmel Arena starting at 7 p.m. Presbyterian College hosts Longwood in league action Thursday evening, also starting at 7 p.m.