UNC Asheville’s women’s basketball team remains tied for first place after a hard-fought win Saturday on the road at High Point University. Chatori Major, UNCA junior guard, scored a game-high 25 points and carried the Bulldogs back from an early 14 point deficit.
Bad weather delayed the game and only High Point looked ready for the 4:30 p.m. tip off. The Bulldogs committed six turnovers, and the Panthers badly out-rebounded them in the first quarter. Major drove to the basket twice and Tianna Knuckles, junior guard, blocked a shot and got a steal to close the first half down 13-24.
The Bulldogs entered the second quarter energized and completed a 15-3 run to take the lead at 28-27. Major, Knuckles and freshman guard Jessica Wall hit 3-point shots during the run. UNCA finished the game shooting 36.8 percent from beyond the arc.
UNCA turnovers and High Point’s 90 percent success rate from the free throw line kept the game close. At the half, High Point led by one 44-43. Major scored 17 of her 25 points in the first half.
In the third quarter, the Panthers pushed their lead to five. Two quick fouls forced Major from the game. Freshman guard Senora Dengokl scored twice from the paint and Wall ripped a 3-pointer as UNCA retook the lead 54-52. UNCA center Bronaza Fitzgerald scored four of her 12 points before the Panthers surged to a five point lead going into the final period.
Kaylah Keys, High Point junior guard, scored six of her 21 points in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to keep the Panther lead at five. A timeout gave coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick a chance to implement a full court press that caused a jump-ball but the possession arrow pointed to High Point, who led 76-71.
Knuckles and Major combined for ten of the Bulldogs’ last eleven points. The final point came from Khaila Webb’s single successful free throw, but it was the most important as the Bulldogs won 82-81. UNCA struggled from the free throw line, only hitting 47.4 percent. The Bulldogs battled against a good Panther defense and earned 54.1 percent of field goals made.
UNCA advances to a 14-4 record, 7-2 in the Big South Conference. High Point falls to 6-12 and 5-4 in conference play. The Bulldogs face Presbyterian College at Kimmel Arena Tuesday in a matchup of first place teams.