Score: Mercer 59 - Western Carolina 57
Records: Western Carolina 5-14, 0-4 SoCon, Mercer 14-4, 3-1 SoCon
Location: Ramsey Center - Cullowhee, N.C.
CULLOWHEE, N.C. -- Mercer's Rachel Selph's buzzer-beating shot lifted the Bears to a 59-57 win over Western Carolina, in a pulse-pounding heart-breaking loss for the Catamounts, Saturday in the Ramsey Center.
With .09 seconds left to play, Linnea Rosendal got the ball to Selph who sailed the ball up about five feet from the basket and it rattled in.
Western Carolina tied it, after trailing 57-56 with 3.2 seconds remaining, when Kyia Hough hit 1-of-2 free throws. The Catamounts got to the free throw line, to knot the game, when Hough picked up a steal and was fouled.
Mercer battled back after being held scoreless in the first period, allowing Western Carolina to build a 16-0 lead after one period of play. The Bears roared back to score 24 points in the second period to trail 30-24 at the half.
The Bears took its first lead of the game with 8:45 left in the game when Khalia Lawrence hit a lay-up to give Mercer a 44-42 advantage. Mercer only led by as much as four in the waning minutes of the game. Western Carolina battled back to tie it at 55, with 1:50 left, and the game was tied twice more before the Bears grabbed the lead and win at the end of the game.
Freshman forward Tembre Moates led Western Carolina with a career-high 12 points and also ripped down six rebounds. Lawrence poured in 30 points to lead all scorers.
With the game tied at 57, Mercer's Selph hit a buzzer-beater with under a second remaining to lift the Bears to a 59-57 win over Western Carolina.
-Moates led WCU with a career-high 12 points - all off the bench. She also connected on a career-high five field goals.
- Emily Hatfield just missed scoring in double figures with nine points and also had three assists.
- Lauren LaPlant had eight points for WCU hitting two of Western Carolina's four three pointers.
- Mercer's Lawrence scored a game-leading 30 points. The 30 points is just six points shy of her career-high of 36.
- The Bears Sydni Means added 11 points.
- Nikki Johnson had a career-high four assists.
Inside the Box Score
- Western Carolina held Mercer scoreless in the first period outscoring the Bears 16-0.
- The Bears posted 24 points in the second period - outscoring WCU 24-14 to trail by six, 30-24, at the half.
- Western Carolina held the lead over Mercer until 8:45 left in the game when the Bears took its first lead of the game, 44-42.
- The Bears had only eight turnovers in the game and didn't commit a turnover until the third period.
- Western Carolina had 19 turnovers in the game equating to 15 points for the Bears.
- Western Carolina's four three-pointers, in the game, were made in the first and second period. - The Catamounts out-rebounded the Bears 38 to 34.
- Western Carolina posted its best shooting percentage in Southern Conference play hitting 42.9 percent.
News & Notes
- Western Carolina held Mercer below its season average giving up 59 points to a team who averages 67.3.
- The Catamount loss pushes the team to a four-game losing streak - the longest of the season.
- Western Carolina held a team scoreless in a period for the first time, in school history, since the NCAA women's basketball programs went to periods instead of halves.
- Sherae Bonner's five rebounds gives her 592 in her career moving her to 11th place in the WCU record books. She is now eyeing 10th place and needs 18 to usurp Willow Russell who had 609 in her career. Bonner needs only eight rebounds to hit 600 in her career which would make her just the 11th player in WCU women's basketball history to have 600 or more rebounds in a career.
- Bonner also notched a block against Mercer giving her 94 in her career ranking her fifth. She needs only nine blocks to move into fourth place in the WCU record books.
- After the line-up shake-up over the last two games, with LaPlant and Johnson both earning starts, Western Carolina is holding opponents to 54 points a game - 11 points under the seasonal average the Catamounts are allowing opponents this season.
Western Carolina begins a three-game Southern Conference road swing next week starting off with Chattanooga on Jan. 19 at 6:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and can be heard on the Catamount Sports Network.
For the latest information on Catamount women's basketball, follow @catamounts on Twitter or go to www.catamountsports.com.