FARMVILLE, Va. – Trailing 65-64 with just over ten seconds remaining, sophomore guard Paige Love hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put the Bulldogs up for good, as UNC Asheville defeated Longwood 69-65 in Big South Conference women’s basketball action on Thursday evening.
Longwood’s Daeisha Brown had a layup attempt with four seconds remaining, but missed the runner. Freshman guard Tianna Knuckles got the rebound for the Bulldogs and was fouled, converting her two free throws to give Asheville the 69-65 win.
Love scored a career-high 22 points in the contest, finishing two rebounds shy of a double-double. She also had five steals and three assists to help guide the Bulldogs to victory. Love’s previous high was 18, a mark she hit on four occasions.
UNC Asheville improves to 6-9 on the year with a 3-3 mark in the Big South, while Longwood drops to 5-10 overall and 2-4 in league play.
“They did a good job of attacking us in the backcourt, and trapping our guards on our inbounds,” said UNC Asheville head coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick. “We really emphasized getting the momentum back after losing it and the team really responded tonight. You have to credit Longwood though, and Daeisha Brown, they play extremely hard.”
Junior guard Brittany Gwyn tallied 11 points while Knuckles and fellow freshman Ja’Da Brayboy recorded 10 points apiece. Knuckles also became the first Bulldog to reach a double-double this season, pulling down a game-high 12 boards.
Longwood was led by Raven Williams, who tallied 18 points for the Lancers. Brown scored 17 and Deborah Headen tallied 11 for the Lancers, who struggled coming out of the gate in both halves.
The Bulldogs began the game strong, running out to a 17-4 lead over the Lancers with 13:49 to go in the frame. Longwood got its footing and began to claw its way back into the contest, pulling to with three at 19-16 on a trey by Deborah Headen with 9:06 remaining.
However, on the next trip down the floor Brittany Gwyn hit a 3-pointer to put the Blue & White back up 22-19. The Bulldogs pushed their led to 10 at 28-18 on a KJ Weaver layup at the 4:02 mark, only to see Headen pull the Lancers within five at 30-25 with 1:54 to go in the first.
Once again Gwyn hit a trey to answer on the very next possession to put Asheville up 33-25 at the 1:36 mark. Eventually the Bulldogs would take a 35-28 lead into the half.
The second half started much like the first, with the Bulldogs pushing their lead to 49-34 with 14:25 to go on a Love layup. Once again the Lancers would slowly pull their way back, cutting the lead to 11 at 51-40 with just over 10 minutes to play.
Longwood would cut the lead to three on a Daeisha Brown layup with 5:30 to go, pulling to within 56-53 of the Asheville lead. Love would put the Bulldogs up 61-54 with 4:10 remaining in the game, making a strong move to the basket and putting it in while being fouled, converting the old-fashioned 3-point play.
Brown pulled the Lancers to within three at 62-59, converting her own and one on a layup in the paint. Raven Williams cut the Bulldog lead to one with 1:39 remaining on a pair of made free throws at 62-61. The Lancers took the lead 63-62 on a Brown layup with 48.4 seconds to go, their first lead of the game.
Gwyn gave the Blue & White the lead once again, converting a pair of free throws with 46.7 seconds to go. Brenna Robbins answered for the Lancers hitting a baseline jumper with just over 30 seconds remaining.
Love then hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put Asheville back up 67-65 with 9.7 seconds left. Brown took the inbounds and ran it down the court, missing a runner with just over a four seconds to go, and Tianna Knuckles grabbed the rebound for the Bulldogs and was fouled, converting a pair of shots from the charity stripe to give the Bulldogs a 69-65 victory.
Asheville finishes the road swing at Radford on Saturday afternoon. Game time at the Dedmon Center is 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast locally on WPEK Radio (880-AM) with the pre-game show starting at 1:55 p.m.