CLINTON, S.C. – UNC Asheville used precision 3-point shooting to power past the Presbyterian College women’s basketball team, 72-63, Monday night at the Templeton Center.
The Blue Hose fell to 2-5, 0-1 in the Big South Conference, while the Bulldogs improved to 5-1, 1-0 in the Big South season opener. Both teams had three players score double digit points.
Aianna Kelly (Newport News, Va.) led the Blue Hose with 17 points and five rebounds and added two assists. Taylor Petty (Spartanburg, S.C.) and Janie Miles (Clemson, S.C.) both provided 10 points for PC. Tianna Knuckles led all scorers with 19 points and pulled down five rebounds for Asheville. Chatori Majors led the Bulldogs with seven rebounds and added 16 points, while Ja’Da Brayboy provided 11 points.
The game opened with five-straight 3-pointers, three for the Bulldogs and two for the Blue Hose. Asheville opened up an eight point lead twice in the first quarter. Petty converted a layup then sank a free-throw that ended the quarter and decrease the lead to 18-13. The Bulldogs shot 50.0 percent (6-of-12) from the field, 57.1 percent (4-of-7) from beyond the arc and 100 percent (2-of-2) from the free-throw line in the first period.
Kaycie Reffner (Altoona, Pa.) opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer to pull within three, before scoring went sporadic. The Bulldogs opened up their largest lead of the half at 12 on back-to-back 3-pointers by Ja’Da Brayboy and Tianna Knuckles at the 2:20 marker of the second quarter. The Blue Hose closed the half on a 6-0 run and trailed 33-26 at halftime. Asheville shot 46.2 percent (12-of-26) from the floor and 46.7 percent (7-of-15) from the 3-point line in the first half.
Kelly drilled a 3-pointer then Salina Virolla converted a layup that pulled PC within five, 36-31 at the 7:53 mark of the third quarter. Asheville went on a 9-2 run and pulled out to a 12 point lead before Kelly sank another deep ball. Allie Wagner (Easley S.C.) hit a layup that pulled PC within six points with 26 seconds left in the third quarter.
PC got within six points on a Kelly jumper and a Miles free-throw with 7:58 left in the game. Paige Love converted a layup with 3:44 left in the game to give the Bulldogs a 13 point lead, their largest of the game. The Blue Hose battled back, but Asheville made nine free-throws in the final minute.
The Blue Hose shot 48.1 percent (13-of-27) from the field and 55.6 percent (5-of-9) from beyond the 3-point line in the second half.
Presbyterian continues conference play at Longwood 2 p.m. Saturday in Farmville, Va.