Nov. 11, 2011
DURHAM, N.C. - Sophomore guard Rena Wakamascored a career-high 19 points in Western Carolina women's basketball's (1-0) 62-49 win over North Carolina Central University (0-1) Friday at McDougald/McLendon Gymnasium.
Wakama was 10-of-12 from the free throw line and 4-of-14 from the field in route to her career-high night 19 point night. She was 3-of-4 from the charity stripe, in the final 30 seconds, to erase the Eagles' any thought of a chance of making it a game in the final minute.
The Catamounts had a shaky start to the game, battling back and forth with North Carolina Central. Western Carolina trailed by as much as three points twice, in the first half, and was tied seven times before the Catamounts took the lead before the half. With 23 seconds left, Wakama was fouled and knocked down a pair of free throws, to give WCU a 25-23 lead at the half.
It may be one of the oldest and cliché comments ever used in sports, but it truly was a tale of two halves for Western Carolina. After suffering through a bout of scoring woes, in the first 20 minutes, the Catamounts unleashed on the Eagles in the second half.
Western Carolina roared out of the locker room going on an 11-0 run to build a 36-23 lead before North Carolina Central could blink an eye. North Carolina Central was held scoreless for the first three plus minutes of the second half before the Eagles' Jasmine Alston hit a three-pointer.
The Catamounts ballooned its lead to 15 points four times during the second half. In an end of the game lull, Western Carolina watched North Carolina Central battle back to a singe-digit deficit.
A pair of free throws by the Eagles' Chasidy Williams trimmed the WCU lead to nine, 52-43, with 2:06 left. Freshman guard Makensey Campbellgot the points back when she hit a jumper to put WCU back into a double digit lead.
A key component in Western Carolina's second half explosion was senior guard Kaila'Shea Menendez, who scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half. Campbell rounded out the double figure scoring for WCU with 12 points; she also had a pair of blocks in the game.
Western Carolina shot 35.6 percent from the field and outrebounded North Carolina Central by two, 38-36. The Catamounts were also 18-of-23 from the free throw line.
The Catamounts return home on Monday for a two-game home stretch. Western Carolina will take on Charleston Southern at 7 p.m. in the Ramsey Center.