Bulldogs comeback falls short in final home game

By Christopher Jones – [email protected] – Staff Writer | Feb. 25, 2015 |
UNC Asheville fell to Gardner-Webb University 58-66 in Big South Conference women’s basketball play on Saturday afternoon in their final game of the season at Kimmel Arena.
The win moves Gardner-Webb to a record of 9-10 in Big South conference play and 13-15 overall. This loss for UNCA stretches their losing streak to four games and brings them to 6-12 in Big South Conference play and 7-20 overall.
“Candace had a great game for us. She did a little bit of it all today — she scored, she made some good plays and grabbed a bunch of rebounds for us,” said Rick Reeves, head coach of the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs.
Gardner-Webb was led by Candace Brown, junior guard, who collected 14 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Olivia Parker, junior forward, scored 13 points and collected eight rebounds for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.
“This win tonight was a good win for us. We played hard, we connected on what we wanted to and we closed out the game the right way. Our girls tonight avenged their loss to Asheville from last month because we made the correct adjustments and it showed tonight. We’ve won six of our last eight games and hopefully win our last game Tuesday to bring it to seven wins out of our last nine,” said Ralph Patin III, Gardner-Webb assistant coach.
UNC Asheville was led by Chatori Major, sophomore guard, who had 14 points on six of 10 shooting and three assists. Shonese Jones, senior guard, knocked down three three-pointers and collected 13 points in the game. Gardner-Webb led the whole game from the first half to the end of the second half.
Gardner-Webb’s largest lead of the night was 16 points at the 15:51 mark of the second half. The Bulldogs started to chip at the lead and rallied to cut the lead to 60-55 with 1:41 to go in regulation. Aggressive defense by the Bulldogs’ and two three-pointers by Jones and one by Ja’Da Brayboy, sophomore guard, were a big part of their comeback.
UNCA failed to bring the game to one possession as Tianna Knuckles, sophomore guard, missed a 3-point field goal with 55 seconds to go in regulation.
“Both teams now, as we are close to the end of the regular season, have to get ready for the Big South Conference tournament and win to have a chance to make the NCAA tournament and try our luck there,” Patin said. “This win helps us and I’m sure this loss helps, or should help, UNCA and us see what we need to do to make adjustments and hopefully make the right ones for the tournament.”
Gardner-Webb went six for six from the free throw line to close out and seal the win for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.
“This was a good game today. The Bulldogs played hard. Hats off to the seniors on the team for a great season. I enjoyed watching them this season and can’t wait for the next one,” said Joe Wendell, UNCA fan.