Women's Basketball

Buccaneers' strong start stifled by Bulldogs’ comeback

Buccaneers' strong start stifled by Bulldogs’ comeback

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Charleston Southern was unable to maintain its strong start as the Buccaneers fell to UNC Asheville 56-47 on Tuesday night in Kimmel Arena.

"I think it was a good game, but they out-rebounded us and got a lot of 50-50 balls that I believe was the difference in the game," said CSU Head Coach Fred Applin.

UNC Asheville (11-9, 5-4) held a strong 47-29 rebound advantage over the Buccaneers and doubled CSU's second chance points with a total of 18 in the contest.

"You can't give a team like UNC Asheville second chances under the basket and that's what we did," Applin said.  "Ultimately, we didn't play our best basketball."

Big South top-scorer Ke'Asia Jackson led the Buccaneers (11-9, 5-4) with 13 points.  Rachel Burns also scored double-digits, recording 11 points along with a team-high six rebounds and a game-high five steals in the CSU road loss.

The Bulldogs opened the game with a basket from KJ Weaver, but would not have the lead for long.  CSU responded with a 9-0 scoring run as Burns and Jackson got the hot hand and Alyssa Mann sealed a strong first five minutes for the Bucs with a three-pointer for the 9-2 lead.  UNC Asheville closed out the quarter at the stripe with Weaver splitting a pair of free throws to trail CSU 15-9.

Weaver opened the second quarter with layup as the Bulldogs attempted to swing the momentum.  CSU answered with a jumper from Mann and two free throws from Breannah Bretches to hold onto the lead and keep it a two-possession game.  Things went south for the Bucs after they failed to convert on their next two possessions and UNC Asheville put up seven unanswered points, pulling ahead of CSU 22-21 at the 4:15 mark with a jumper from Jessica Wall.  Burns would return the lead to CSU with two trips to the free-throw line, but Weaver swung the advantage back to the Bulldogs with a pair of baskets in the final minutes of the quarter for the 26-23 UNC Asheville lead at the half.

Weaver recorded a game-high 18 points and was just shy of a double-double with a shared team-high nine rebounds.  Chantori Major also paced the Bulldogs with 17 points and seven rebounds.

"We have to continue to strive for our ultimate goal of making an NCAA Tournament appearance, but to get there we need to work on our rebounding," Applin said.

Weaver opened the second half with a layup and made it a two-possession game as the Bulldogs led 26-23.  Brianna Lakes cut the lead down to three with a trip to the free-throw line, but UNC Asheville capitalized on several offensive rebounds for the second-chance basket as Major returned the lead to six (31-25) with a basket from beyond the arc.  Burns fired back with back-to-back steals and a three-pointer to shave the Bulldogs' lead down to 31-28 with five minutes remaining in the quarter.  Bretches and Jackson added baskets to put the Buccaneers within two and the score at 34-32 with 10 minutes left to play.  Bretches finished the night with eight points, five rebounds and a team-high four assists.

"Our bench is really showing up and helping us," Applin said.  "Bretches came in when Mann got into foul trouble and did a great job."

CSU put the game within three points two separate times in the fourth quarter with several baskets from Bretches and Jackson, but were unable to swing the lead back in their favor and recorded their third conference road-loss in the 56-47 defeat in Kimmel Arena.

The Buccaneers now turn their attention back home as they host Presbyterian on Saturday afternoon.  Tipoff at the Buc Dome is set for 3:00 p.m. on the Big South Network. 

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