ASHEVILLE — Former University of North Carolina at Asheville women’s basketball player Paige Love has joined the staff as an assistant coach, Bulldogs Head Coach Honey Brown announced, May 1. Love, a 2012 Wilkes Central graduate, played for the Bulldogs from 2012-2016.

Love has spent the past four seasons as a member of the coaching staff for the Texas State University women’s basketball program, including the last two as an assistant coach.

Brown, who was named the new head coach of the Bulldogs  on May 1, watched Love play for her while she was an assistant coach under former Head Coach Brenda Kirkpatrick-Brown.

“I am beyond thrilled to have Paige join our Bulldog staff. Paige made a huge impact for this program as a player and I know she will do the same now as an assistant coach,” said Honey Brown. “She has tremendous work ethic and such positive energy that our players, staff and fans will love. I have watched Paige stretch herself in so many ways to learn and improve as a coach. I am excited to have her back in Asheville and in Kimmel Arena.”

As a player, Love helped guide the Bulldogs to the 2015-16 Big South regular season and tournament championships. The Bulldogs clinched the program’s second bid to the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament. Asheville earned the No. 14 seed in the Lexington Regional and drew a first round matchup with the host Kentucky Wildcats.

During the season, Love was a winner of the William and Ida Friday Award for Service to Community, a nominee for the WBCA All-State Good Works Team, the John Wooden Citizenship Cup and the NCAA Woman of the Year award. At the conclusion of her senior year, Love was named the UNCA Female “Big Dog of the Year” and earned the UNCA Bulldog Service and Leadership Award.

Love graduated from UNC Asheville in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in health and wellness promotion and received her master’s degree in exercise science at Texas State in 2018.

The 2016-17 season, Love’s first as a graduate assistant, saw the Bobcats finish 16-15 overall, including an 11-7 record in Sun Belt play, which garnered the No. 4 seed in the Sun Belt Championship, and earn an at-large berth to the Women’s Basketball Invitational.

Love was a vital part of the program’s historic 2017-18 season. The Bobcats set the team standard for victories in the Division I era, ending the season with a record of 23-10, including a trip to the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Championship title game and the program’s second appearance in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

Following the 2017-18 season, she was a roundtable speaker at the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Convention at the Final Four in Columbus, Ohio. She presented “Behind the Scenes: The Graduate Assistant Life.”

During Love’s first season as an assistant coach, Texas State finished the 2018-19 season with a 14-17 record and a 9-9 mark against the Sun Belt Conference. The Bobcats finished sixth in the league standings.

This past winter, Texas State finished 13-17 (6-12 in the Sun Belt) and was the No. 6 seed in the Sun Belt Conference tournament. The Bobcats lost to the No. 3 seed the University of Texas at Arlington in the opening round.

UNCA went 16-14 last winter and included a 9-11 Big South Conference record. The Bulldogs defeated Charleston Southern 82-46 in the first round of the Big South tournament.

UNCA was scheduled to face High Point University in the quarterfinals before the tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19.

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