Jan. 21, 2012
STATESBORO, Ga. - Western Carolina women's basketball (6-12, 1-8 Southern Conference) was edged by Georgia Southern (7-12, 3-7 SoCon) 41-40 Saturday at Hanner Fieldhouse.
Neither team scored in the final 3:19 of the game, though Western Carolina had its chances. After junior guard Janae' McKinney hit a lay-up, to pull Western Carolina within one, the Catamounts could never capitalize on the multitude of opportunities given to them by Georgia Southern.
The Eagles committed a pair of costly turnovers and Mimi Dubose missed the front end of a 1-and-1, with five seconds remaining. Western Carolina just couldn't capitalize on what was given to them, including four huge scoring chances in the final three minutes.
Western Carolina had 18 turnovers in the game, but perhaps the last one was the costliest. After Georgia Southern's Janay Wilson coughed up the ball with 30 seconds left in the game, Western Carolina had the ball and the shot clock in its favor. Maneuvering for a good look at the basket, on the left side near the Western Carolina bench, freshman guard Ali Lane was called for traveling, giving the ball back to Georgia Southern.
The Eagles gave Western Carolina one last shot to take the game when Dubose missed a free throw, after being fouled. As time expired, senior guard Kaila'Shea Menendez's three pointer was short to end the game.
Western Carolina built an early 3-0 lead to start the game, before Georgia Southern found its shooting touch. The Eagles were leading by 11, 22-11 with 4:54 left in the half, when Western Carolina went on a bit of a run. The Catamounts scored seven unanswered points to pull within four, 22-18 at the half.
Early in the second half, Western Carolina benefitted from back-to-back three pointers, by Rena Wakama and Makensey Campbell, to grab its first lead of the game since early in the first half. Then Wakama's 1-of-2 free throws gave the Catamounts a 25-23 lead. The game would be tied twice, after the Catamount lead, before Georgia Southern would grab the lead for good off a lay-up by Jordi Cook with 12:17 remaining.
Western Carolina shot an icy 28.6 percent from the field while Georgia Southern was 42.9. The Catamounts went to the free throw line 16 times but only connected on 10. Western Carolina did out-rebound the Eagles 37-27.
Alex Abraham and McKinney led Western Carolina seven points a piece. Georgia Southern was led by Anna Claire Knight with nine points.
Western Carolina continues is two-game road swing playing at College of Charleston at 7 p.m. Monday.