Feb. 25, 2012
CULLOWHEE, N.C. -Western Carolina women's basketball (13-15, 8-11 Southern Conference) held off a surging Georgia Southern (8-20, 4-15 SoCon) team, at the end of the game, to defeat the Eagles 55-46 Saturday in the Ramsey Center on senior day.
Prior to the game, the Catamounts honored seniors Laura Sanchez, Caitlin Hollifield and Kaila'Shea Menendez. After feting the trio of seniors, Western Carolina got down to the business of trying to close out the home portion of its season with a win.
Georgia Southern wasn't very compliant with Western Carolina's desire to win its second straight game. The Eagles led from the opening basket of the first, holding as much as a seven point lead, 13-6 until the final seconds of the half. Freshman Makensey Campbellhit a three pointer to trim the lead to 13-10 and the Catamounts would keep the game close for the remainder of the half.
Western Carolina took a short-lived lead, in the first half, when Diamond Hunnicuttnailed a jumper with 50 seconds left, giving the Catamounts a 21-20 advantage. Jordi Cook answered with a jumper for the Eagles, giving GSU a 22-21 lead at the half.
The Catamounts stormed out of the locker room and took its game to another level for the first seven plus minutes of the second half. Western Carolina benefitted from a 16-2 run, to start the second, to build its largest lead of the game, 37-24 with 12:56 remaining.
The game looked well in hand, as Western Carolina enjoyed a double digit lead. Georgia Southern, however, proved it wasn't going quietly. Leading by 13, 37-26 with 11:25 left on the clock, the Catamounts watched its lead dwindle to a scary three points, with 4:34 left. The Eagles went on a 14-6 run on the Catamounts, benefitting from four three pointers.
In the final four plus minutes of the game, Western Carolina went on another run of its own, 12-6, to fend off Georgia Southern. The Catamounts were a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line to keep the Eagles grounded, in the final 22 seconds of the game.
Hunnicutt was solid for Western Carolina with a balanced nine points and nine rebounds, also adding an assist and two steals. Menendez lead the Catamounts with 11 points and McKinney added 10.
Western Carolina had 43 rebounds to Georgia Southern's 34. The Catamounts also got 27 points from its bench and took advantage of the freebies going 15-of-18 from the free throw line.
The Catamounts travel to Elon on Monday to play its final regular season game of the season. Tip time is set for 7 p.m.