March 8, 2014
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Junior guard Justin Taylorcame off the bench to score a career-high 26 points as No. 7 seed Western Carolina women's basketball (15-16) powered past No. 2 seed Furman (18-12) 75-70 in the quarter-finals of the Southern Conference Tournament Saturday in Kimmel Arena.
Western Carolina heads to the semi-finals of the Southern Conference Tournament for the first time since 2009 when the Catamounts won the tournament 101-87 in triple overtime against former SoCon member Charleston. The Catamounts will play No. 3 seed Davidson at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the US Cellular Center. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and CSS and can be heard on catamountsports.com with Kyle Rush on the call.
Trailing by six, with 5:14 left in the game, Western Carolina began chipping away at the game when Taylor drained a three pointer. Holli Wilkins answered with a lay-up but Catamount senior Rena Wakamahad an answer hitting Western Carolina's second consecutive three to trim the Paladin lead to two, 59-57, with 4:20 left.
In the next two minutes, Western Carolina outscored Furman 5-to-3 to tie the game at 62 with 2:47 left. The lead would change twice more with the Catamounts taking the final lead when senior Shauna Terrydrained a pair of free throws, at 1:31 left, to put the Catamounts up 66-64.
Western Carolina was able to weather the comeback attempt by the Paladins by going 9-of-10 from the free throw line in the final minute of the game. Down the stretch, Taylor was a perfect 6-of-6.
After a fairly even first 10 minutes of play in the game, Western Carolina pulled away midway through the opening half, with Alex Abraham'sfree throw putting the Catamounts on top 22-14 with 4:22 to go in the frame. WCU took a 28-22 lead into the locker room at the break.
Furman chipped away at the lead to open the second half, with Tiara Wood's three-point play bringing the Paladins back within a point at 38-37 with 13:08 to go. Brittany Hodges' three-point play put Furman on top for the first time on the day at 46-45, and the Paladins would get seven points from Sarah Durdaller in an 15-6 run that turned a three-point deficit into a nine-point lead before the Catamounts made their decisive run to end the game.
Taylor was 5-for-11 from the floor and 3-for-4 from 3-point range but scored half her points at the free-throw line, where she was 13-for-13. The junior transfer from Louisburg Community College paced four Catamounts in double figures, as Wakama had 18 points and Erika Josephand Terry had 11 each.
Furman was led by Durdaller, who scored 19 points, while Wilkins had 15 and Hodges added 10.