RADFORD, Va. – Ariel Williams scored a career-high 25 points Friday night but visiting UNC Asheville defeated Radford in a high-scoring affair, 84-80, inside the Dedmon Center.
Williams went 9-for-12 from the field and was perfect from both the free throw line (5-for-5) and beyond the arc (2-for-2). Rache LaLonde added 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench, while Taiye Johnson had a game-high 10 rebounds for the Highlanders.
Radford jumped out to an early 10-5 lead with baskets from Tina Lindenfeld, Johnson, Williams and Makaila Wilson, before the visitors came back to tie things up late in the quarter. Radford never trailed in the opening 10 minutes, as a jumper by LaLonde inside the final minute of the frame gave the Highlanders a 20-18 advantage at the end of the quarter.
The Highlanders continued their hot start into the second quarter, beginning the period with a 10-3 run in the first four minutes. Williams accounted for six of the 10 Radford points during that stretch. From there, UNC Asheville clawed its way back with a 10-0 run of its own to take its first lead of the game in what quickly became a back-and-forth contest. Wilson connected on a jumper inside the final 30 seconds to send the teams to halftime in a 35-all deadlock.
UNC Asheville upped the defensive pressure out of the break, forcing five Highlander turnovers in the first three minutes of the frame. The Bulldogs raced out to an eight-point lead, 45-37, before Radford went on its own extended run. A 3-pointer by Ashley Tudor, followed by back-to-back Bryonna McClean jumpers tied the score once again, this time at 46-46. The visitors found a way to pull ahead late in the quarter and took a three-point lead, 55-52, into the final frame.
The Bulldogs led throughout the fourth quarter, but Radford kept it within six points or less for most of the period. A late 10-1 run put UNC Asheville ahead by 12, 77-65, with two minutes left in the game. Despite a late rally by the Highlanders which included a trio of 3-pointers, the visitors held on for a four-point win.
Nadiria Evans led all scorers with 31 points for UNC Asheville, and also added six rebounds and five assists. Amaryah Corpening had 21 for the Bulldogs, with most of that coming in the second half.
Radford and UNC Asheville close their two-game series Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.