Bulldogs Work to Improve Big South Standing
It’s back to basics for the UNC Asheville women’s basketball program as they prepare for the 2010–11 season.
Ninth-year head coach Betsy Blose wants her program to get back to the basics that helped the Bulldogs capture the 2007 Big South Conference championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Blose and her staff are determined to improve on last year’s 8-22 record and eighth place finish in the Big South Conference.
“I want us to get back to the basic fundamentals on what this program was built on when I got here in the spring of 2002,” said Blose. “We’re going to improve our defense and continue to be solid in the rebounding department. I want us to have discipline and our work ethic to be second to none this year.”
Blose and her staff are focusing on the positives of this year’s club and not looking at the past. “We’re going to be a young team. We have a lot to prove this year, but I believe we’re going in the right direction,” she said.
Blose says one of the keys to this year’s club is the ability to hit the three-point shot.
“We need to be a really good three-point shooting club this season,” explained Blose. “We’ve got an inexperienced post game that is going to take some time to develop, so we’re going to have to be able to shoot the basketball from long range. We have the shooters who can do it, but they need to do it with consistency with every game.”
The Bulldogs return some experience in the backcourt this season, including senior Kendall Shepard who averaged 8.1 points per game and led Asheville in assists with 120. She’s being moved to the two guard spot in 2010-11.
Junior Lindsey Thompson is back and should compete for a lot of playing time. Thompson led the Bulldogs in 3-pointers made last season with 53 and averaged 8.2 points per game.
Dana Wagner is one of two seniors on this year’s roster. She is a junior college transfer who earned some playing time a year ago. Wagner averaged 2.8 points per game and knocked down 15 three-pointers.
Sophomore guard Grace Blaylock showed some three-point ability last season with 44 treys on the year. She averaged 4.4 points per outing and showed steady improvement throughout the season.
The inside game is young and developing but has a lot of potential. Sophomore forward Kelli Riles showed some promise last season as she averaged 5.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game as a freshman.
The Bulldogs were a preseason pick to finish in eighth place in the Big South Conference standings this year.
“I’m not surprised to be picked eighth, but that’s not where we want to finish,” explained Blose. “We have a lot of work to do, but this team is working hard and has a great attitude.”
Asheville is off to a solid start in 2010–11 as the Bulldogs are 1-1 in the regular season so far and knocked off Mars Hill in an exhibition game. Shepard is leading Asheville in scoring with a 19.0 average, while Riles is topping the team in rebounding with a 12.0 average.
Blose and her squad have some more incentive to have a great season this year with the 2010–11 being the final year of play in Justice Center. Both basketball teams will move to Kimmel Arena next year.
“Justice Center has been good to our program. We won a championship here in 2007 and have a lot of great memories here,” said Blose. “We want to finish strong in Justice.”
—Mike Gore, Associate Athletic Director