Gardner-Webb Evens Season Series With Asheville
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – In the second meeting of the season between Gardner-Webb and the UNC Asheville women’s basketball team the Runnin’ Bulldogs avenged a one-point home loss by defeating the Blue & White at the Justice Center, 68-65, in a pivotal Big South Conference showdown for both teams.
Courtesy: UNC Asheville
Asheville (10-14, 3-8 BSC) did a lot of damage from behind the 3-point line, converting on 8-of-19 in the game, but the Bulldogs could not convert on some key possessions down the stretch and missed on a last second trey that would have sent the game into overtime.
“We had our chances tonight, we just turned the ball over too much,” said Asheville head coach Betsy Blose. “We fought hard, we just made too many mental mistakes. It’s a tough loss but we have to put it behind us and begin preparing for Charleston Southern on Saturday.”
The Bulldogs were led on offense by Grace Blaylock who scored 17 points for Asheville. Kendall Shepard added 14, Chioma Okoli added 13 and Kelli Riles added 10 to the Bulldogs’ total while Lindsey Montgomery pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds for Asheville. The 13 points by Okoli was a season-high for the senior out of Snellville, Ga.
Dominique Hudson scored a game-high 21 points as she led GWU (15-9, 7-4 BSC) offensively. Her sister Monique Hudson scored 12 which put her over 1,000 career points as a Runnin’ Bulldog. Dominique went over 1,000 points earlier in the season, making them the fifth set of siblings to reach the 1,000-point plateau and the second to do it in the same season in Big South history.
The win also avenges a 60-59 defeat at the hands of Asheville on Jan. 29. The Bulldogs are now 6-5 against GWU since the Runnin’ Bulldogs joined the Big South.
In the first half Asheville went up by as much as 11 with 10:36 remaining only to have GWU finish the frame on a 20-10 run to go into the break with the Bulldogs holding onto a 38-37 lead. Monique Hudson hit a 3-pointer to start the second half and give the Runnin’ Bulldogs the lead only to have Blaylock put Asheville back up with a three of her own.
The two teams traded buckets back and forth throughout the entire second half until a Breaira Barksdale layup tied the game at 62-62 with 1:50 left to go. On the next possession Sandra Vaitkute hit a layup to put GWU by two.
Asheville turned the ball over on the ensuing possession and was forced to foul to conserve time. Down 66-62 with only eight seconds remaining Shepard hit an off-balance 3-pointer to pull the Bulldogs within one. Dominique Hudson was fouled and made both of her free throws to give GWU a 68-65 lead with only seven seconds to go.
With time running out the Bulldogs beat the full court press by GWU and were able to get a 3-point attempt off as time expired, but the baseline shot by Lindsey Thompson rattled off the rim as the horn sounded.
Asheville will host Charleston Southern on Saturday in a Big South match up set to begin at 4:30 p.m. The game with the Buccaneers will be the second of a double header at the Justice Center, with the UNC Asheville men’s team playing non-conference foe Northeastern as a part of ESPN’s Bracket Buster Saturday. Gardner-Webb will host league-foe Coastal Carolina on Saturday afternoon. Tip off with the Chanticleers is set for 3 p.m.