Camels win Big South opener 61-55 over UNC Asheville

Brianna Cribb (Courtesy of Adrian Etheridge)
Brianna Cribb (Courtesy of Adrian Etheridge)

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. --- The Campbell women's basketball team defeated UNC Asheville 61-55 in its 2017 Big South Conference opener on the road Tuesday night and claimed its sixth-straight victory. Brianna Cribb tallied a double-double with a career-high 12 points and 10 rebounds while MaKala Rouse matched a career-high 16 points.

Rouse led three Camels (9-3, 1-0 BSC) in double figures along with Cribb and Summer Price, who finished with 10 points. Caroline Bowns chipped-in eight while Rouse pulled down eight boards and recorded three steals. Cribb added a game-high four assists as the Camels claimed their second-straight regular season road victory over the Bulldogs (6-6, 0-1), who were picked to win the league as the defending champions.

A Rouse three pointer kicked off an 8-0 run that gave Campbell its largest lead of the game at 52-37 with 6:13 left to play. The Bulldogs responded with a 10-0 run and trailed by only a 52-47 margin with 2:31 remaining. Cribb broke the long scoring drought with a layup in the next possession and UNCA started fouling after a missed jumper with 1:52 to play.

CU was only able to convert one of two free throws in four-straight offensive possessions as the Bulldogs cut the deficit to 58-53 on a Khaila Webb jumper with 50.0 showing on the clock. Price went to the line in the following possession and hit two clutch free throws to put the Camels up seven, three UNCA possessions, with 35 seconds to play.

Webb's jumper on the other end of the court couldn't fall as Price grabbed the defensive rebound and was sent back to the line. Webb's two free throws with 14 seconds to go were the final points of the contest as Campbell was able to run out the clock and earn the gritty victory.

Webb finished with a game-high 18 points while KJ Weaver recorded a double-double with a game-high 18 rebounds and 14 points. The Camels held the Bulldogs to a .373 shooting clip from the field (19-for-51) and .222 shooting from beyond the arc (2-for-9). Campbell forced 18 turnovers and turned them into 20 points. CU held a 34-26 advantage in the paint.

Two early Bulldog baskets were answered by six-straight Camel points that gave them their first lead of the game midway through the first period. It finished as a 9-0 run before a Sonora Dengokl broke a six-minute UNCA scoring drought with 3:13 to play in the first.

The free throw kicked off a quick 5-0 spurt that tied the game at 9-9 before Price drained a three pointer that set the Camels' advantage at 12-9 at the end of the opening frame.

Price's three started an 8-0 run after the Camels scored the first five points of the second period and led 17-9 with 8:39 on the clock. A Breanna Foster trey gave CU a 22-13 advantage, the largest of the first half, midway through the second.

Asheville responded with a 6-0 run that cut the lead to three, but jumpers by Taya Bolden and Hayley Barber in the final minute of the period sent the Camels to the halftime locker room with a 28-21 advantage.

Campbell's lead was eight before another 6-0 Bulldog run made the score 34-32 midway through the third period. It would be the closest they would come to the lead since giving it up early in the first period.

CU responded with six-straight points of its own and later took the first double-digit advantage of the game at 44-33 with 47.0 left in the third. Two UNCA free throws set the score at 44-35 heading to the fourth.

The Camels will return to action when they host Charleston Southern for their Big South home opener at Gore Arena on Saturday, Jan. 7. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.