Beyond the Scoreboard: UNCA women chase third straight NCAA tourney bid

UNC Asheville has won seven straight Big South Conference tournament games the past two seasons. (Photos credit: UNC Asheville)

Going after a third straight NCAA tournament appearance, the UNC Asheville women begin Big South Conference tournament play Friday in Lynchburg, Va.

The third-seeded Bulldogs (15-14) play No. 6 Campbell (15-14) at 8 p.m. in the quarterfinal round.

Asheville is 7-0 in BSC tourney play over the past two seasons, winning three straight as the top seed two years ago and taking four games in four days last season as a lower seed to roar into their second straight NCAA tournament.

The Bulldogs enter postseason play under coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick, the former Tuscola High and Wake Forest standout who has led the program to 59 wins the past three seasons.

The team is led by a pair of all-conference seniors – center Bree Fitzgerald (14.3 points, 9.9 rebounds) and guard Khalia Webb (13.3 points, 2.8 assists).

Both were among the league’s top 10 in several categories – Fitzgerald was second in rebounding and field-goal percentage, third in defensive rebounds, fourth in scoring and sixth in blocked shots.

Webb was third in free-throw percentage, sixth in assists and seventh in scoring, field-goal percentage and minutes per game.

Asheville won both regular-season meetings vs. the Camels – 60-52 at Campbell and 38-33 at home.

With a win, the Bulldogs would play in one of two Saturday semifinals (2 and 4 p.m.). Sunday’s final is at 2 p.m.

Regular-season champion Liberty (21-9) is the top seed.