CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina women's basketball (4-11, 2-4 Southern Conference) was edged by Samford (9-7, 6-1) 47-38, in a defensive battle, Friday in the Ramsey Center.
The Catamounts ripped down 45 rebounds, 23 on the defensive end, but couldn't get the shots to fall. Western Carolina shot 25 percent from the field and was just 5-of-8 from the free throw line. Samford reached the charity stripe 17 times hitting 14.
Junior guard Rena Wakama came off the bench to offer a spark for Western Carolina leading the team with 12 points. The Catamounts got 26 of its 38 total points from the bench.
It was a hotly contested game from the tip. Western Carolina led once in the game, after junior guard Hana Haden hit a three-pointer, at 16:48, to put the Catamounts up 5-4. Samford's Taylor Reece answered with a three-pointer of her own to allow the Bulldogs to re-claim the lead. They would never trail in the game again.
Down 42-17 at the half, Western Carolina came out with some fire to start the second. Twice the Catamounts trimmed the Bulldogs' lead to four to start the final 20 minutes. The second time was off a jumper by freshman guard Lindsay Simpson - her first points of the game. Simpson did not attempt a shot in the first half. She ended the game with seven points.
Wakama hit 1-of-2 free throws, with 6:13 left in the game, to whittle Samford's lead to just three, 32-29. Samford again had an answer when Kendall Schwantz hit a jumper to push the Bulldog lead back to five.
Western Carolina was in the game the entire contest, fighting at every turn. With two minutes remaining, senior forward Janae' McKinney sank two free throws to make the score 34-28. Samford went on a 9-4 run, going 7-of-7 from the free throw line in the final two minutes, to ice the game.
Taylor led Samford with 14 points and Jazmine Martin added 13.
Western Carolina women's basketball hosts Chattanooga at 2 p.m. Sunday.