Greenville, S.C. - Freshman guard Lindsay Simpson paced four players in double figures, with career-high 25 points, as Western Carolina women's basketball ( 5-12, 3-5 Southern Conference) defeated Furman (6-11, 2-6 SoCon) 88-83 in a three overtime thriller Wednesday in Timmons Arena.
Along with Simpson's 25 points, where she was 8-of-15 from the field, a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line and drained three three-pointers, Rena Wakama added a career-high of her own with 23 points. Ali Lane had 11 points and Janae' McKinney poured in 10 points to round out the double figure scorers for Western Carolina.
After two overtime periods, in which Western Carolina and Furman matched baskets, the Catamounts finally pulled away in the third five minute period. The Catamounts outscored the Paladins 9-4 in the third overtime to ice the game.
Simpson hitt a buzzer-beating floater, to end the half, and Western Carolina led Furman 36-26 heading into the locker room. The Catamounts came out tenacious and with fire to start the second half, scoring the first five points. They parlayed that quick start to a 21-point lead, 49-28, with 16:41 left in regulation.
Furman took the knocks but wasn't on the mat, as the Paladins slowly began to chip away at the Catamount lead. In a three minute span, Furman quickly cut the Western Carolina lead to nine with an 18-2 run. It would be the prelude to an epic mid-week game between the two teams.
Western Carolina built its lead back to 13 points, 59-46 with 8:17 left, off a three-pointer by Simpson. Down the stretch, leading by 12, 67-55, with 3:34 remaining Western Carolina hit a scoring wall as Furman heated up. Furman reeled off 10 consecutive points, holding the Catamounts scoreless, to pull within one, 67-66, with 48 seconds remaining in regulation.
Lane was fouled with 22 seconds left, hitting 1-of-2 from the charity stripe, to put Western Carolina up 68-66. The Paladins' Brittany Hodges nailed a jumper, with six seconds left, to the game at 68 sending the game to the first overtime.
Simpson hit a jumper to start the first overtime to give Western Carolina the early lead. A pair of free throws by Hodges tied the game again and Wakama answered with two free throws of her own to take the lead at 72-70. Kaitlin Murphy's three-pointer see-sawed the lead back to Furman. Wakama's 1-of-2 free throws tied the game for the sixth time in the contest and send the game to the second overtime.
It was Furman's turn to take the lead in the second overtime, off a lay-up by Teshia Griswold. Western Carolina had the lead again, down the stretch, when Wakama eyed and connected on a three-pointer with 2:26 left in the second overtime as the Catamounts led 79-77. With 55 seconds left, Janice Roberts lay-up tied the game at 79.
Western Carolina scored a season-high 88 points and snapped a four-game losing streak. The Catamounts shot 47.5 percent from the field and was 24-of-30 from the free throw line. Western Carolina also outrebounded Furman 47-43 ripping down 31 defensive rebounds. The win at Furman was also the Catamounts first Southern Conference road win of the season.
Western Carolina continues its two-game road swing facing College of Charleston at 2 p.m. Saturday.