ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville women's basketball team plays its final home game of the season on Saturday when the Bulldogs welcome Big South Conference newcomer Longwood to Kimmel Arena at 2 p.m. Asheville will celebrate Homecoming and Senior Day on Saturday and will honor its three seniors following the game.
Saturday's contest will be broadcast locally on WPEK Radio (880-AM) and be available via video-streaming under the multimedia tag at www.uncabulldogs.com.
Something has got to give in today's game as both teams are looking to end long losing streaks. The injury-ravaged Bulldogs have lost 17 straight games, while the Lancers have lost eight in a row after starting league play at 6-1.
"Longwood is an experienced and very athletic team that looks to outwork their opponent on every possession on both offense and defense," stated first-year coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick. "They play with a sense of urgency that is admirable and has resulted in several big wins for them this year. We will need to take care of the basketball and work hard on the interior.
"I know the entire team really wants this win for our three seniors who have continued to lead this team through adversity this season," added Kirkpatrick. "I am excited for another opportunity to coach these young ladies."
Asheville (2-25, 0-16 BS) battled hard on Thursday night at home but fell to Big South leader Liberty, 75-43. Freshman Paige Love was a bright spot in defeat as she scored 18 points. Kelli Riles just missed a double-double with eight points and eight rebounds.
Longwood fell at Winthrop on Thursday, 78-46. Crystal Smith leads the Lancer attack with a 14.6 average. Chelsea Coward is averaging close to a double-double with a 13.9 scoring mark and 8.2 rebounding average.
Longwood leads the series 3-2 as the teams are meeting for the first time as league opponents. The teams played twice two seasons with the Lancers winning two close games as they rallied in the second half for each game. Longwood won 76-66 at Justice Center and then completed the non-conference sweep later in the season with a 77-73 triumph.
Asheville will honor seniors' Grace Blaylock, Gentry Manley and Kelli Riles after the game.
Riles leads the Bulldogs in scoring with a 10.7 average and in rebounding with a 9.8 mark. She moved into fourth place on the Big South's all-time career list for rebounds on Thursday as she now has 1,017 rebounds. Love has pushed her scoring average to 7.9 points per game. She has scored in double figures in six of the last nine games.
UNC Asheville will finish up the regular season at Winthrop next Saturday afternoon (March 2) at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 which fans can watch from their computer. That game will also be on radio on WPEK (880-AM).