Celebrating 90 Years: Looking Back on the 1998 Big South Women's Basketball Tournament

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Rocky statue in front of Justice Center

The UNC Asheville women's basketball team will go for its third straight title this weekend when it begins play in the Big South Conference Tournament at Liberty University.
If the Bulldogs can get past Campbell in the quarterfinal on Friday, they'll be hoping to work on a long winning streak in the semifinals.
Asheville has won its last five Big South tournament semifinal appearances, which is a streak that started 20 years ago in 1998.
The Bulldogs entered the 1998 tourney without much history on their side. Asheville won the NAIA national title in 1984 but struggled from the start when it came to women's basketball as it began play in the Big South in 1985. The Bulldogs snuck into the semifinals in their first year of tournament play in 1987 but lost to Radford. The defeat to the Highlanders began a streak of 11 losses in their next 12 BSC tournament games. A first-round win over Charleston Southern in 1994 was the only victory by the Asheville program in tournament play over an 11-year period.
And things didn't seem like they would change in 1998. The Bulldogs, under first-year coach Kathleen Weber, had struggled for most of the season. Weber hadn't been hired until the summer due to the school having to dismiss former coach Ray Ingram.
The Bulldogs had been competitive under Weber but lost a lot of close games. The league had been dominated by Liberty in 1997-98. Rick Reeves' Flames had won their first championship a year earlier and were really good this season. They were unbeaten throughout the year, rolling through the Big South and a soft non-conference schedule. LU was 26-0 entering the tourney.
Asheville entered the tournament as a sixth seed and with a 5-22 overall record. First up, was a date with third-seeded Coastal Carolina. The Bulldogs had split with the Chanticleers during the year. Coastal was guided by former ETSU men's coach Alan LeForce, and he had found a great player in then freshman guard Brooke Wiesbrod.

For the full story, visit the UNC Asheville Bulldogs website