Jan. 13, 2014
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Senior guard Rena Wakama led all scorers with 19 points as Western Carolina women's basketball (8-8, 2-3 Southern Conference) held on to defeat Samford (3-14, 1-5 SoCon) 54-50 Monday in the Ramsey Center.
The win halts Western Carolina's three-game losing streak and pushes the Catamounts back to .500 with an overall record of 8-8. Western Carolina shot 44.2 percent from the field, its second-best shooting percentage of the season.
With 1:22 remaining, in the game, Samford sliced the Catamount lead to three when Lydia McGee drained a three-pointer to trail Western Carolina 50-47. Wakama, who seemed to be all over the court, dished a pass to Justin Taylor who drained a jumper with 1:01 left to make the score 52-47.
Wakama was at it again when she picked the pocket of McGee ending Samford's offensive opportunity. Catamount Ali Lane was fouled, and hit 1-of-2 free throws, to push the lead to six, 53-47.
Samford wasn't done, as McGee struck again for a lay-up and was fouled. She completed the three-point play when she sank her free throw to pull the Bulldogs to one score, 53-50.
Taylor put the game out of reach when she it 1-of-2 free throws with 19 seconds remaining. Samford's Christy Robinson ripped down the rebound, after Taylor missed her second free throw, but the Bulldogs couldn't convert. Ellen Riggins missed a three point attempt and Kassidy Blevins pulled down the rebound, but Samford couldn't get off a second shot attempt and the clock ran out.
Western Carolina and Samford were tied at the half at 30. Samford was 2-for-2 from the three-point line, to close out the half and tie the game. With 1:48 left in the half, and the score tied at 28, junior Makensey Campbell hit a three-pointer for Western Carolina to take the lead 30-27. Hannah Nichols hit her second three-pointer, in a one minute span, to knot the game before the half.
Wakama was the full package in the game putting pressure on Samford on both sides of the court. The Raleigh, N.C. native added six rebounds, five steals and two assists to her 19 points. Taylor ended the game with 12. Robinson added 14 for Samford and McGee had 11.
Samford hit five three-pointers in the game which kept them in the game. Western Carolina connected on just two three pointers. The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Catamounts 37-36 and had 15 turnovers to Western Carolina's 17.
Western Carolina will embark on a two-game road swing playing at UNCG on Friday and Elon on Sunday. Tip time against UNCG is 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. against Elon.