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CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Western Carolina women’s basketball, as the No. 8 seed, begins play in the 2019 Ingles Southern Conference Tournament presented by General Shale Thursday facing No. 1 seed Mercer at 11 a.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, N.C. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and can be heard on the Catamount Sports Network on catamountsports.com.

 

AN INSIDE LOOK AT THE CATAMOUNTS:

  • Western Carolina and Mercer meet for the 17th time on Thursday with the Bears winning all 16 previous meetings. The two teams last met on Feb. 16, 2019, with the Bears winning in Macon, Ga. 71-55. This will be the second-straight year Western Carolina and Mercer will have met in the opening round of the SoCon Championships. Last season, as the No. 1 seed, the Bears defeated the Catamounts, who were the No. 8 seed, 75-44. 
  • Western Carolina has 171 made three-pointers in the 2018-19 season, which ranks second in the SoCon this season, and is second-most in the WCU record books for three-pointers in a season. The record is 189 three-pointers in the 2013-14 campaign.
  • Rookie Jewel Smalls was a unanimous selection on the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team by the league coaches and media as well as the media’s choice for Freshman of the Year. Smalls, a guard from Roswell, Ga., is the first Catamount women’s basketball player to earn conference freshman of the year honors since the 2005-06 season when Lauren Powell was awarded the honor. She is also just the fifth player in program history to be honored as the best freshman in the league for that year. She is also 14th Western Carolina women’s basketball player to be named to the conference’s all-freshman team. She is the first Catamount to earn this honor since the 2015-16 season when Raziyah Farrington was handed the honor.
  • Western Carolina has had a player score 20 or more points eight times this season.
  • This will be the second-straight year Western Carolina will be entering the SoCon Championships with just eight players on the bench due to injuries and other outside factors.

AN INSIDE LOOK AT MERCER:

  • Mercer’s Amanda Thompson and KeKe Calloway were named SoCon Players of the Year by the coaches and media respectively.
  • Mercer is aiming for its second straight SoCon Tournament title. The Bears are 8-3 all-time at the SoCon Tournament and have reached the title game
  • The Bears have won 38 straight total games against SoCon opponents, including regular season and tournament play.
  • Mercer clinched the 2018-19 Southern Conference regular season title with a pair of road wins at ETSU and Chattanooga on Feb. 21-23. The Bears have won at least a share of four consecutive SoCon regular season titles dating back to the 2015-16 campaign.

For updates of Catamount women’s basketball play in the SoCon Championships please follow @catamounts (Twitter) or go to www.catamountsports.com.

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