Feb. 4, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Western Carolina women's basketball (9-14, 4-10 Southern Conference) picked up a seasonal sweep of UNCG (3-18, 2-11 SoCon) with a 46-35 victory over the Spartans Saturday at Fleming Gymnasium.
The win over UNCG is the Catamounts' first Southern Conference road victory of the season. It is also the first back-to-back victories in the SoCon and Western Carolina's first series sweep over a conference opponent.
Senior guard Kaila'Shea Menendezpaced Western Carolina with a game-leading 14 points. She also moved into 10th place in the Catamount record books, for free throws in a season. Menendez went 4-of-6 from the free throw line, to add to her career free throw total, and now has 317 in her time as a Catamount.
The charity stripe was the catalyst for Western Carolina, as the freebie line was a friend to the Catamounts and a foe to the Spartans. WCU was 13-of-17 from the free throw line, shooting 76.5 percent, while UNCG was just 8-of-18, for an anemic 44.4 percent from the line.
Offense was at a premium for both clubs, but just like the last handful of games, Western Carolina relied on its oppressive defensive pressure to stay in the game. The Catamounts forced UNCG to cough up the ball 22 times, scoring 15 points off Spartan turnovers.
Combined, Western Carolina and UNCG scored just 26 points in the first half. The Catamounts entered the locker room leading the Spartans 15-11.
The game was hotly contested in the second half. Western Carolina looked to have the game in hand when the Catamounts held an eight point lead, 29-21, with 10:38 remaining.
UNCG went on a 13-5 run, in a six minute span, to tie the game twice. Tied for the fourth time in the game, at 34, Western Carolina took the lead for good with 4:34 left. Menendez sliced through the lane, getting the finger tip roll, to score and give Western Carolina the 36-34 lead.
Western Carolina rolled on to an 11-1 scoring run, in the final four minutes of the game, to keep the Spartans at bay. In that span, Menendez hit a pair of field goals, and WCU was 8-of-10 from the free throw line to ice the game.
The Catamounts had 11 steals in the game and also had seven blocks.
Western Carolina will have six days off before heading back on the road, on February 11, to face Wofford.