Feb. 8, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Western Carolina women's basketball (11-12, 5-7 Southern Conference) couldn't survive a second-half surge by Samford (7-16, 5-7 SoCon), as the Bulldogs shot 50 percent in the second half, falling 54-49 Saturday in the Pete Hanna Center.
A scoring drought late in the first half, and another in the second, doomed Western Carolina women's basketball.
Samford also benefitted from the three-pointer. After hitting just one three pointer in the first half, Samford hit four in the second half ending the game with five.
Western Carolina built a nice six point, 29-23, lead in the first three minutes of the second half until Samford started chipping away. From 17:05 until 14:01 the Bulldogs went on a 9-3 run to take its first lead of the second half, 34-32. In that three minute stretch Bulldog freshman Hannah Nichols scored seven of her 12 points in that stretch to lead the Samford charge.
A pair of free throws by Catamount senior guard Hana Haden tied the game for the seventh time, 34 all, but Nichols was there again with a jumper to give Samford the lead back, 36-34. Sophomore guard Lindsay Simpson hit the first of her two three pointers in the game to give Western Carolina its final lead in the contest, 37-36, with 11:05 left.
It was Simpson who kept Western Carolina in the game in the final three plus minutes as she hit a three pointer to cut the Samford lead to three, 49-46, and then was 2-of-3 from the free throw line under two minutes to play. Simpson's 2-of-3 free throws sliced the Bulldog lead to 51-48 with 1:59 left.
Ali Lane went to the line with 1:03 left, hitting 1-of-2 free throws making the score 51-49. Western Carolina was called for the foul, with 36.2 left, and Clara Young connected on 1-of-2 from the charity stripe. Trailing by three, Simpson missed a three pointer and the ball went back to Samford.
After KeKe Fletcher missed both free throws, Western Carolina had another shot to tie the game but Simpson again missed a three pointer. Krista Stricklin's pair of free throws, with four seconds left, iced the game for the Bulldogs.
Western Carolina led at the half, 23-20, despite not hitting a field goal in the final 4:52. The Catamoutnts maintained their lead by going 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
Though Western Carolina was 9-of-13 from the free throw line, it was key missed free throws that hurt the Catamounts. Overall, WCU was 17-of-21 from the free throw line shooting 81 percent, well above its seasonal average of 60 percent.
Simpson was the only Catamount to score in double figures ending the game with 11. Along with Nichols' 12 for Samford, Christy Robinson added 11.
Samford shot a toasty 50 percent from the field in the second half bouncing back from 34.8 percent in the first. Western Carolina shot 28.6 percent from the field, hitting just seven field goals in the first half and seven in the second.
The Catamounts forced Samford to turn the ball over 20 times scoring just 11 points off the Bulldog miscues. Western Carolina had seven offensive rebounds and 30 total with Samford ripping down 38, 10 off the offensive glass.
Western Carolina returns to action Monday taking on SoCon leading Chattanooga at 7 p.m.