LYNCHBURG, VA. – The Presbyterian College women’s basketball team used a 12-2 run early in the fourth and grabbed a late lead, but UNC Asheville made an old-fashioned three with less than two seconds in the game to escape with a 56-55 win Saturday night at the Vines Center.
Players of the Game
Cortney Storey scored 22 points to lead the Blue Hose in the loss. The junior guard shot 8-for-12 from the field, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc, and 4-for-8 from the free-throw line. She added five rebounds with six assists and four steals.
Bronaza Fitzgerald recorded a 14-point, 13-rebound double-double to help lead the Bulldogs. The junior center went 5-for-9 from the floor and 4-for-10 from the charity stripe.
Stat of the Game
PC entered the game shooting 75.0 percent from the free-throw line and averaging 28.5 boards per game, but went 5-for-10 from the line and only grabbed 21 rebounds.
How It Happened
Asheville won the tip and opened the scoring with a Chatori Major 15-foot jumper. After Janie Miles got PC on the board with a shot from distance, KJ Weaver scored another bucket for the Bulldogs. Aianna Kelly hit a jumper from the left, but Major connected from beyond the arc. The Blue Hose knotted the score at 7-7 on an Allie Wagner layup, but Major drained another long-range shot for a 10-7 Asheville lead at the 5:50 mark. Out of the 4:42 media timeout, Weaver converted a pair of freebies before Wagner scored another layup. Zip Scott cleaned up a missed jumper by Major and Khaila Webb went 2-for-2 pair from the free-throw line. Storey got a layup to fall, but Major hit her third three-pointer of the game to push the Bulldog lead to 19-11. PC got a bucket from Kelly, but Scott made a trifecta in the right corner and Major added a late score as the opening quarter ended with Asheville in control 24-13.
The second quarter began with a Fitzgerald trip to the line. After the junior center shot 1-for-2, Rebecca Walker scored down low to cut the lead to 25-15 with 5:32 on the clock. Kacie Hall got a deep ball to fall from the top of the key before Sonora Dengokl ended a four-minute Asheville scoring drought with a jumper from the right side. Fitzgerald followed with a tip-in, but Kelly caused a steal and made the fast-break bucket as PC trailed 29-20 with 1:25 remaining in the half. Fitzgerald then shot 1-for-2 from the charity stripe and Asheville called a timeout with 1:06 to play. Ali Trani got another 1-for-2 effort from the line for the Bulldogs. Miles then shot 1-for-2 from the line, Fitzgerald scored a layup, and Storey beat the buzzer as the teams went into the locker rooms with the Bulldogs up 33-23.
PC shot 10-for-22 (45.5 percent) from the field, 2-for-9 (22.2 percent) from beyond the arc, and 1-for-4 (25.0 percent) from the free-throw line in the opening half. The Blue Hose led in points scored in the paint (14-10), but the Bulldogs held the edge in rebounds (18-12), steals (7-5), points off turnovers (6-4), second-chance points (6-0), and points off the bench (12-7).
Fitzgerald opened the third quarter with a 1-for-2 effort at the line. Miles connected from distance, but Jessica Wall answered in kind. Storey got a fast-break bucket and PC trailed 37-28 at the 4:39 media timeout. Trani scored down low to push the Asheville lead back to double digits, but Storey hit a trifecta from the top of the key. A Fitzgerald layup before the buzzer made it 41-31 at the 1:02 mark. Storey drove to the basket for a score and the Blue Hose entered the fourth quarter down 41-33.
Dengokl kicked off the final 10 minutes of action with a layup, but Reffner was wide open underneath for the answer. Storey followed with a steal and layup and the Bulldogs burned a timeout with 7:46 left in the game. Weaver scored underneath, but Storey connected from beyond the arc to pull PC to within 45-40. Walker followed with a deep ball from the left corner and suddenly the Blue Hose had life. After Major made a floater in the lane, Storey converted 1-of-2 shots from the line. Kelly then kicked it out to Walker and the senior forward tied the game at 47-47 with a three-pointer from the left side. Storey made it a 12-2 run with a layup, but Weaver got a layup to fall as the game was tied 49-49 at the 3:09 media timeout.
Out of the timeout, Storey drove to the basket and kicked out to Kelly and the senior guard made a long-range shot from the left side. Weaver made a layup to keep it close, but Storey followed with a pair of charity shots to keep it a three point game. Fitzgerald got a tip-in and shot 0-for-2 from the line, but a tie up kept the ball with the Bulldogs. Asheville immediately turned the ball over though, and PC advanced the ball with a timeout at the :28 mark. The Bulldogs were forced to foul and sent Storey to the line with :21 remaining. The junior guard made 1-of-2 shots and Asheville advanced the ball with a timeout. Fitzgerald was fouled on her made bucket with less than two seconds to play and the score tied at 55-55. The junior made her free shot and PC advanced the ball. Asheville stepped in front of the in-bounds pass and held on for the win.
- Kelly followed Storey in scoring with nine points, and Walker contributed eight points. Kelly shot 4-for-6, including 1-for-2 from deep, and added five boards, an assist, and a steal. Walker went 3-for-5 from the floor, including 2-for-3 from long range. She added two rebounds with a pair of blocks.
- PC shot 21-for-43 (48.8 percent) from the field, 8-for-20 (40.0 percent) from distance, and 5-for-10 (50.0 percent) from the line.
- Two other Bulldogs reached double-digit scoring: Major had a team-high 15 points and Weaver netted 10 points. Major added three boards and four steals, while Weaver had four rebounds and two steals.
- The Blue Hose led in points off turnovers (10-6) and fast-break points (4-2). The game featured four ties and six lead changes. The Bulldogs led for 33:11 and held their largest lead 25-13 at the 8:06 mark in the second quarter.
- It marks the second year in a row PC has lost to Asheville in the semifinals. The Bulldogs knocked the Blue Hose out of the 2015-16 Tournament with a 65-55 final on March 12, 2016.
- The Blue Hose end the season with a 13-18 record, while Asheville improves to 18-14 and will face top-seeded Radford in the Championship Final on Sunday.