Beyond the Scoreboard: Bulldog women begin postseason play

All-conference senior Bree Fitzgerald leads Asheville in scoring (13.9) and rebounds (9.8) (Photo credit: UNC Asheville)

Following another successful regular season, the UNC Asheville women embark on their third straight postseason appearance on Thursday night.

The Bulldogs (17-15) host Furman (17-13) at 7 p.m. at Kimmel Arena in the first round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

Coming off two straight NCAA tourney appearances, coach Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick’s team is competing in the WBI for the first time.

Asheville earned its invitation after a strong 8-5 finish. A third seed in last week’s Big South Conference tournament, the Bulldogs won two games before losing to top seed Liberty 60-42 in the tournament championship game.

The two-time tourney defending champion, the loss snapped a nine game-winning streak in the event over three seasons by Asheville.

The Bulldogs are 62-37 over the past three seasons and have clinched a third straight winning record.

They are led by all-conference seniors Bree Fitzgerald (13.9 points, 9.8 rebounds per game) and Khalia Webb (13.6 ppg, 87 assists).

Furman played at Asheville in the regular season, taking a 71-63 win at Kimmel Arena on Dec. 28.

The Paladins won four of their last five games in the regular season and lost in the first round of the Southern Conference tournament to Samford, 59-58.

This will be Furman’s first game in 14 days.

Tickets are available on the school’s athletic website, at the box office at Kimmel Arena or by calling 258-7900. Tickets are $10, with students age 5 through college $5 each. Season ticket-holders must purchase tickets for this game.

Thursday’s winner will play either South Alabama or Stetson in the second round of the 16-team tournament.