Jan. 7, 2013
STATESBORO, Ga. - Western Carolina women's basketball (4-9, 2-2 Southern Conference) was edged by Georgia Southern (2-11, 1-3 SoCon) 52-50 Monday at Hanner Field House.
After leading 28-27 at halftime, the Catamounts could only muster two points in the first seven plus minutes of the second half, allowing the Eagles to claim the lead and never relinquish it. Junior guard Kristen Lyon scored the only field goal for the Catamounts in that span, at the 16:30 mark, halting a 3-0 start for the Eagles to open the second half.
Georgia Southern went on a 14-2 run, in that seven plus minute span, to build a 11-point, 41-30, advantage. Sophomore guard Ali Lane sparked Western Carolina's scoring, hitting a lay-up with 11:53 remaining. It began a 9-2 run for the Catamounts, highlighted by two three-point plays by Lane, as she hit a field goal and was fouled.
Just as Western Carolina was finally connecting on field goals, and cutting into the Eagles' lead, the Catamounts found their free throw shooting going the way of the arctic. The Catamounts had a chance to trim the Georgia Southern lead to three, when Shauna Terry was fouled, but she hit just 1-of-2 to make the score 43-39.
Lyon's jumper, at the 5:55 mark, cut Georgia Southern lead to two, 43-41, and it looked like the game would morph into a nail-bitter. Western Carolina had a chance to tie the game, and make it a new ball game when Makesney Campbell was fouled and earned two shots at the free throw line. Campbell missed both her free throws. It turned into two points for the Eagles when Anna Claire Knight went down the court and scored, putting the Eagles back up by four, 45-41.
Western Carolina would twice more cut the Eagles' lead two points. The final time Janae' McKinney, who was 3-for-3 from the field, hit a driving lay-up, to make the score 47-45 with 2:20 remaining.
The Catamounts' defensive pressure was holding strong as Western Carolina had the Eagles scrambling, leading by two, with 1:29 left. However, the pressure yielded in a foul being called on redshirt senior Diamond Hunnicutt as Eagles' Mimi Dubose was attempting a three-pointer. The junior guard nailed all three free throws, she was a perfect 11-for-11 from the charity stripe in the game, pushing the Georgia Southern lead to 50-45.
Down but not out, Western Carolina continued to fight. The Catamounts were back in the thick of the game when McKinney was fouled with 39 seconds remaining. After the team struggled for most of the game, from the free throw line, McKinney was solid at the line hitting both free throws to trim the Eagles' lead to three, 50-47.
Georgia Southern proved again, as it had all game, it would make the most of its trips to the free throw line. Dubose hit her 10th and 11th free throws of the game, to push the Eagle lead back to five, 52-47, with nine seconds remaining. The Eagles ended the game 16-of-19 from the charity stripe.
Campbell did drain a three pointer, her second of the game, with one second reaming to make the game close. Campbell ended the contest with eight points. Lyons also had eight points.
McKinney led Wesern Carolina with 10 points. Lane scored all six of her points in the second half.
The tale of the tape, so to speak, was Western Carolina's 9-of-19 performance at the free throw line not to mention the one field goal in the first seven plus minutes of the second half. Western Carolina's bench was also effective, scoring 28 of the team's points in the contest. The Catamounts also got 12 points off 16 Georgia Southern turnovers.
Western Carolina's 28 first-half points is the third most points, scored in a half, this season. The Catamounts shot 42.9 percent from the field, in the first half, and just 28 percent in the second half. Georgia Southern stayed in the game, in the first half, by earning nine trips, hitting 8-of-9, to the free throw line. Western Carolina was only 2-of-6 from the free throw line in the first half.
Terry picked up two blocks in the game to move into a tie for fourth the place, in the Catamount record books for blocks in a career, with 82.
Western Carolina continues its two-game road swing on Saturday, January 12, with a trip to Boone, N.C. to take on rival Appalachian State. Tip-time is set for 2 p.m.