CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern earned its sixth straight home win after defeating UNC Asheville 73-66 on Tuesday night.
"I think it's a great win for our program right now," said CSU Head Coach Fred Applin. "Every win counts and I think we played well as a team tonight with Rachel Burns leading us, while Ke'Asia Jackson and Alyssa Mann really stepped up in their leadership roles."
Burns paced the Buccaneers (14-10, 8-5) with a team-high 18 points, while Jackson and Mann contributed 16 points apiece in the CSU win.
Charleston Southern held the lead for 38 of the 40 minutes of play and outrebounded UNC Asheville (11-13, 5-8) in the conference rematch. Elyse Kiploks led the Bucs with a game-high 10 rebounds and was just shy of a double-double with nine points.
"In this league, you can't give teams second chances with rebounds, and we saw the difference that made the last time we played UNC Asheville" added Applin. "We've worked on boxing out a lot since then and the importance of securing the ball."
After UNC Asheville got on the board first with a layup from Khalia Webb, CSU went on an 8-0 scoring run over three minutes for the 8-2 lead early in the first quarter. The Bulldogs responded with a jumper from KJ Weaver and a pair of free throws from Chatori Major to put the game within two. CSU closed out the quarter with another scoring run as Jasmine Blackmon added a jumper, Burns drained a three and Mann finished a Kiploks' block with a layup off the fast break for the 17-10 lead.
Both Mann and Burns reached double digits in the second quarter as the Buccaneers secured a double-digit lead for the last seven minutes before the half. Mann added a three-pointer and a steal to close out the first half with the 37-25 CSU lead. Mann finished the night with a game-high of four steals and a game-high six assists.
The Bulldogs were able to shave the Buccaneers' lead down to just six points in the third quarter as CSU found themselves in foul trouble. Chatori Major opened the half with a jumper for her 10th point and Sonora Dengokl followed with a layup. Webb sealed the 6-0 run with a jumper to put the score at 37-31 less than two minutes into the second half. Major led the Bulldogs with a team-high 18 points and four three-pointers. Jessica Wall added 16 points and a team-high five free throws in the Bulldogs' loss, while Bronaza Fitzgerald recorded 11 points and seven rebounds.
The Buccaneers had 10 fouls called on them in the third quarter and sent the Bulldogs to the charity line three times in the period. UNC Asheville struggled from the stripe, shooting 59.1 percent against CSU's 78.6 percent. Jackson recorded the Bucs' last five points of the quarter and Fitzgerald split a pair of free throws as CSU led 50-39 with 10 minutes left to play.
CSU would not relinquish its lead in the final quarter. Wall put up an impressive 13 points in the fourth, including two three-pointers, but the Bulldogs offensive effort fell short of a comeback. The Buccaneers wrapped up the home win with baskets from Burns, Jackson and Blackmon, while Mann and Kiploks each added a three-pointer in the 73-66 CSU win.
The Buccaneers now turn their attention to Friday as they travel to Liberty to take on the Flames. Tipoff at the Vines Center is set for 7:00 p.m. on the Big South Network.