ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Gardner-Webb put two scorers in double figures, but the Runnin' Bulldogs would drop a 67-49 decision at UNC Asheville on Saturday afternoon to close out the 2016-17 regular season.
Tierra Huntsman scored 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-4 from behind the three-point arc, to lead GWU (11-18, 6-12 Big South) in scoring. Ky'Asia Stanford scored 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting, also going 5-of-7 from the free throw line, off of the bench. The Runnin' Bulldogs were 18-of-54 for the game, shooting 33 percent.
UNC Asheville (15-14, 9-9 Big South) had four double-digit scorers, led by KJ Weaver with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting. The Bulldogs shot 47 percent for the game, including a blistering 67 percent in the fourth period.
Gardner-Webb jumped out to an early 7-2 lead to start the game, capped by a three pointer by Huntsman with 6:30 on the clock. Asheville would respond with a 7-0 run to take a 9-7 lead with 1:40 remaining in the period, and would lead at the end of the opening quarter by a score of 11-9.
Asheville would push its lead to six points at the onset of the second period, leading 15-9 with 8:49 on the clock after a layup by Weaver, but Gardner-Webb would respond with an 8-2 run to tie the game at 17-17 with 7:16 remaining after a layup by Huntsman. The two teams would trade baskets throughout the remainder of the period with UNC Asheville taking a 25-23 advantage at the half.
The Runnin' Bulldogs would claim the lead in the opening seconds of the third period after Huntsman would connect from long distance to put GWU up by a 26-25 score with 9:26 on the clock. A layup by Lovely Locklear with 7:28 to go would give GWU a three-point advantage at 31-28, but Asheville would respond with a 10-0 run to take a seven-point lead with 2:38 remaining in the period. Locklear would hit a layup with 41 seconds on the clock to set the score at 41-36 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth period would be all UNC Asheville, pushing their lead to double digits at 49-38 with 7:29 to go after a jumper by Sonora Dengokl. Stanford would convert an old-fashioned three point play with 4:27 on the clock to pull GWU back within single digits at 55-46, but Asheville would go on an 8-1 run to expand its lead to 16 points with 1:43 left in the contest and would go on to win by an 18-point margin at 67-49.
Gardner-Webb will now set its sights on the 2017 Big South Conference Women's Basketball Championships, hosted by Liberty University. The Runnin' Bulldogs will enter the tournament as the No. 8 seed, facing the No. 9 seed at 6:00 pm on Thursday, March 9 to open the tournament. Longwood and Winthrop tied for ninth-place in the regular-season standings, and tiebreaker scenarios will require the latest RPI rankings to determine who will receive the No. 9 seed. The RPI rankings will be released early Sunday morning, with the official Big South bracket being released by the league office shortly thereafter.