Feb. 11, 2012
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Sophomore forward Alex Abrahm's pair of free throws, with six seconds remaining, iced the game for Western Carolina women's basketball (10-15, 5-10 Southern Conference) as the Catamounts defeated Wofford (11-14, 4-12 SoCon) 58-54 Saturday at Benjamin Johnson Arena.
The weather was blistery and cold outside, and Abraham was just as icy, as she helped seal the game for the Catamounts. After Ali Lane missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, with 16 seconds left, Wofford had a chance to tie or take the lead trailing 56-54.
After a missed field goal by the Terriers Logan Morris, Wofford's Morgan Wrightson, who led all scorers with 18 points, ripped down the rebound to breathe new life into Wofford. However, Abraham used nimble fingers and stealth like cunning to sneak the ball away from Wrightson and get the steal. With the ball going the way of Western Carolina, and the clock ticking down, Wofford had no choice but to foul Abraham, setting up the free throw opportunity and winning scene.
Senior guard Kaila'Shea Menendez led Western Carolina with 15 points, scoring 13 of her points in the second half. She scored the first bucket of the game for the Catamounts, to start the game, and broke a WCU scoring drought to start the second half, draining a three-pointer. Western Carolina struggled to find a scoring touch to start the second half and it was Menendez's three pointer that halted and almost four minute span without scoring, to start the final 20 minutes of the game.
Leading 30-25, at the half, Western Carolina built a six-point lead with Mendendez's three-pointer and even held as much as a seven point lead, twice, in the second half. Wofford was pesky and stayed close to the Catamounts, finally trimming the Catamount lead to one, 45-44, with 7:56 remaining.
Thrice more Wofford trimmed the Catamount lead to one, with the final time coming with 3:27 remaining when Rachel Brittenham hit two free throws. Leading by a tenuous one point, 52-51 Menendez answere for WCU with a jumper to push Western Carolina's lead back to 54-51 with 2:12 left.
Neither team could find the basket for two minutes, then in the last 30 seconds, Wofford looked to foul to stop the clock. Ali Lane was fouled, hitting both free throws, giving Western Carolina a 56-51 lead.
Wofford made it interesting when Erin Frost hit a monster three-pointer to slice the Catamount lead to two, 56-54, with 19 seconds remaining. Western Carolina prevailed on the slight of hand by Abraham and her pair of free throws to close out the game.
Western Carolina has now won three consecutive games and picked up its second straight Southern Conference road victory.
The Catamounts shot 41.2 percent from the field holding Wofford to 38.1. The Catamounts forced 20 Terrier turnovers getting 23 points off turnovers. Western Carolina continues its two-game road swing Monday, traveling to Furman. Tip time is set for 7 p.m.