Nov. 8, 2013
MACON, Ga. - Senior guard Hana Haden came off the bench to score a career-high, and game leading, 18 points in Western Carolina women's basketball's (0-1) 67-64 loss at Mercer (1-0) Friday in Hawkins Arena.
Western Carolina trailed by 11 twice in the second half with the last time 5:09 remaining in the contest with Mercer leading 58-47. The Catamounts never gave up. In fact, WCU went on a 10-to-1 run, cutting the Mercer lead to two, 59-57 with 1:59 left.
Western Carolina's run, to cut Mercer's lead, was aided by Haden's three-pointer, Western Carolina's first trey of the contest. Mercer's Precious Bridges, who led the Bears with 17 points, halted the Catamount run with its first bucket since the 5:09 mark.
Mercer looked to have the game in hand with 23 seconds remaining but Western Carolina would make the game a pulse pounder in the waning seconds. Trailing 66-61, sophomore guard Lindsay Simpson sank a three-pointer, just the second three-pointer of the game for the Catamounts, slicing the Bear advantage to 66-64 with 19 seconds left in the game.
Western Carolina fouled Bridges to stop the clock and she hit 1-of-2 free throws missing the front end of the two with 16 seconds left. The Catamounts had one shot to tie the game, with the Bears leading 67-64. Simpson, a prolific three-pointer shooter, attempted a shot but the ball was stolen from her and Mercer ran out the clock to end the game.
It was fairly even game in the first half. The contest was tied six times with the last when the teams were knotted at 18. Kendra Grant's pair of free throws, at 4:25 left in the first half, tied the game and then gave the Bears the lead. Mercer would never trail in the game again.
With Mercer leading by eight, 26-18, with 2:34 on the clock in the first half, WCU scored eight unanswered points to trail 26-24 at the half. Senior forward Shauna Terry scored six of the eight unanswered points and Simpson ended the scoring for the Catamounts with a lay-up with 29 seconds remaining in the half.
Three Catamount players scored in double figures for Western Carolina paced by Haden's 18. Simpson added 15 and sophomore forward Erika Joseph had 11. Terry led the team with nine rebounds.
Western Carolina scored 32 points in the paint and got 38 points from the bench, with 18 of those coming from Haden. Mercer was aided by 27 trips to the free throw line and connecting on 20 and also ripped down 51 rebounds, 37 on the defensive end, to Western Carolina's 44.
Western Carolina returns to action at 2 p.m. Sunday when the Catamounts play at Georgia Tech. The game will be broadcast on Power 90 Dot Five as well as streamed on catamountsports.com.