CHARLESTON, S.C. – Three Bulldogs scored in double figures while the UNC Asheville defense held Charleston Southern’s under 50 points, as the Blue & White earned a 61-45 victory over the Lady Bucs on Monday evening at the Buccaneer Fieldhouse.
The win for Asheville was its first Big South win since Jan. 21, 2012, when the Bulldogs defeated Gardner-Webb 72-65, a span of 29 conference games. It was also the first road victory for the Blue & White on the road since defeated Winthrop in Rock Hill, S.C., 66-61 on Feb. 28, 2011 – a span of 30 straight road contests.
“We focused a lot on defense in preparing for this game,” said Asheville head coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick. “Sometimes when our shots aren’t falling offensively we get down instead of focusing on our defense. But we held them to 24 in the first and 22 in the second so that was rewarding to watch.”
With the victory the Bulldogs improve to 4-3 overall and 1-0 in the Big South, while CSU falls to 3-3 and 0-1 in league play.
Leah Wormack scored 16 off the bench for UNC Asheville to lead all players, posting three blocks defensively. Shonese Jones had 14 points with fellow guard Brittany Gwyn tallying 10. Paige Love did not record a point for the first time this season, but she did pull down a season-high nine rebounds, all defensive.
CSU was led offensively by Anicia Dotson, who scored 14 points for the Lady Bucs. DJ Fowler added 10 to the CSU total, with Alyssa Mann adding nine.
The first half saw the Bulldogs jump out to an early advantage, taking a 13-7 lead with 11:23 to go in the frame on a Wormack turn around jumper in the paint. CSU fought back over the next five minutes, tying the game at 17-17 on an Alyssa Mann trey from the corner.
The Lady Bucs took the lead on an Anicia Dotson 3-pointer with 5:58 left to go up 20-19, but the Blue & White would tie it up two minutes later at 22-22 on a Shonese Jones 3-point shot from the top of the key. The two teams would trade the lead back and forth until Asheville was able to finish the frame on a 7-2 run, with Gwyn capping off the frame with a 3-pointer from the left corner as time expired to put the Bulldogs up 29-24 at the break.
The Bulldogs came out strong in the second half, starting the frame on a 15-4 run over the first five minutes to take a 44-28 lead with 14:55 to go. Asheville would continue to extend its lead, pulling to a 52-35 advantage on a Tianna Knuckles 3-pointer with 9:01 on the clock.
The two teams would trade buckets back and forth down the stretch, with the Bulldogs keeping the Lady Bucs at arm’s length the rest of the way to earn the 61-45 victory. The win also marked UNC Asheville’s first victory in Charleston since Jan. 5, 2009.
UNC Asheville will host USC Upstate on Saturday afternoon at Kimmel Arena. The Bulldogs dropped a heartbreaker to the Spartans last season, missing a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired to fall 54-52 on the campus of Upstate. Opening tip is set for 2 p.m.