March 1, 2014
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina women's basketball (13-16, 7-11 Southern Conference) dropped its regular season finale 63-56 to Appalachian State (13-15, 10-8 SoCon) Saturday at the Ramsey Center on Senior day. Seniors Alex Abraham, Hana Haden, Kristen Lyon, Nancy Thacker, Shauna Terry and Rena Wakama were recognized before the game.
Tied at 46, with 5:22 left in the game, Appalachian State used a 6-0 run to pull ahead of Western Carolina and all but seal the deal on the game. The Catamounts sliced the Mountaineer lead to one, 52-51, off a three-pointer by junior guard Justin Taylor and a lay-up by Kristen Lyon but Maryah Sydnor answered with a lay-up. The bucket pushed the Appalachian State lead back to three and the Catamounts never got closer again.
With 32 seconds left, Lyon drained her first three pointer of the season to make the score 57-54 in Appalachian State's favor. The Mountaineer's Keke Stewart was fouled and hit both free throws to put the game out of reach for the Catamounts. Appalachian state was 8-of-7 from the free throw line in the final minute of the game.
The first half was like a pair of prize fighters looking for the perfect knock-out punch but only landing soft jabs. There were four lead changes in the opening 20 minutes and neither team led by more than four points. Western Carolina trailed for most of the first half until Taylor hit two free throws to give the Catamounts a 21-20 lead with 4:05 left. The Catamounts would lead the remainder of the half and take a 25-24 advantage into halftime.
Western Carolina held Appalachian State to 11 offensive rebounds but the Mountaineers won the overall rebounding battle 36-31. The Mountaineers shot 47.2 percent from the field, 50 percent in the second half, to the Catamounts overall 35.1 percent. Appalachian State did not hit a three-pointer in the game.
The Catamounts had three players score in double figures with Lyon leading the way with 13 points. Wakama added 11 and Taylor had 10. Sydnor led all scorers with 20 points for Appalachian State, Cooper and Bria Huffman had 15 each.
Western Carolina will await the outcome of Sunday's Southern Conference games to see where the team will be seeded in the 2014 Southern Conference Tournament. The Catamounts are locked in at the 8th seed but could jump on more seed to 7th depending on the outcome of the Georgia Southern vs. Furman game. Should Georgia Southern loose Western Carolina would move to the 7th seed and play the 10th seed on Friday at 1:15 p.m. If they land in the 8th seed, WCU will face the No. 9 seed at 11 a.m.