HIGH POINT, N.C. - The UNC Asheville women's basketball team takes to the road tonight when the Bulldogs travel to High Point in a Big South battle starting at 7 p.m.
Asheville (2-22, 0-13 BSC) hopes to pick up its first Big South Conference win of the year against a team it came very close to beating back on Dec. 29 at Kimmel Arena. The Panthers slipped past the Bulldogs 58-57 as two last-second shots by Asheville fell short.
High Point is 14-9 on the season and has an 8-4 Big South Conference worksheet. The Panthers are led by last year's Big South Player of the Year Cheyene Parker. She leads the nation in blocked shots with 102.
"We are looking forward to the rematch with High Point. They are a very talented team led in scoring and rebounding by one of the top post players in the nation in Cheyene Parker," stated first-year coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick. "We will have to follow our defensive game plan to near perfection and take care of the ball on offense to give ourselves a chance to win on the road in a very tough environment."
The Bulldogs are coming off a tough 50-46 loss to Coastal Carolina at home on Saturday. Asheville led 25-21 at halftime and the game was tied 46-46 with under a minute to go before the Chanticleers scored the final four points for the victory.
"We had some very competitive practices after our loss to Coastal and the girls are ready to take the court again," declared Kirkpatrick. "If there is any advantage to having a limited number of players it is that those players become extremely familiar with each others' games. We are sharing the basketball much better as of late and we are communicating as well as we have the entire year."
Senior forward Kelli Riles enters the HPU contest with 989 rebounds and 980 points. She is fifth in the Big South in boards, passing former Liberty great Megan Frazee, who had 951 in her career. She is 23 rebounds behind fourth place, currently held by Radford's Karen Bowles (1,012). Riles is looking to become the first Bulldog in the NCAA Division I era to reach the 1,000-1,000 club.
High Point leads the all-time series with the Bulldogs, 29-11. UNC Asheville's last victory against the Panthers came during the 2008-09 season, when the Bulldogs earned a 68-59 at Justice Center. Four Bulldogs scored in double figures, with former Asheville great Ana Baker posting a game-high 20 points. The Panthers have won the last eight meetings.
Freshman Paige Love recorded her first career double-double against Charleston Southern last week, scoring 14 points and pulling down 10 rebounds against the Lady Bucs. She has scored in double figures in four of the last six games.
Asheville is looking to snap at 15-game overall losing streak. The Bulldogs also look to snap a 24-game losing streak in Big South Conference play dating back to last season. The Bulldogs last league win was a 74-62 victory over Gardner-Webb on Jan. 21, 2012.
Seven of Asheville's 13 league losses have been by 10 points or less. Four have been by six points or less.
The Bulldogs are much better defensively this year. Asheville has limited its opponents to just 65.7 points per game, compared to 74.8 points per game last season.