Nov. 27, 2012
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina women's basketball's (2-3) second half comeback attempt fell short in the Catamounts' 51-48 loss to USC Upstate(2-3) Tuesday in the Ramsey Center.
The Catamounts outscored the Spartans 25-18 in the second half, but couldn't overcome the 10-point deficit, 33-23, Western Carolina suffered at the halftime break. USC Upstate shot a blistering 65 percent in the first half and shooting 50 percent for the game.
Western Carolina had its chances in the second half, including getting a golden opportunity in the waning seconds of the contest. USC Upstate's Tweety Hawkins missed both free throws with 15 seconds remaining with the Spartans leading 50-48. After the second missed free throw, Western Carolina had a hand on the rebound but Travonda Haddock pulled it down for USC Upstate and was fouled. Haddock hit 1-of-2 free throws to put the Spartans up by three, 51-48.
The Catamounts mounted a last ditch effort, with three seconds left, as junior Rena Wakama looked for a shot. She fought for an open look but it fell short and the rebound went to USC Upstate to end the game.
Trailing by two, redshirt senior Diamond Hunnicutt had the opportunity to tie the game but she missed one of her two free throws leaving the Spartans leading by one, 46-45. Freshman Lindsay Simpson could have given the Catamounts the lead, with 1:14 left, but she connected on just 1-of-2 free throws; however her one free throw knotted the game at 46.
USC Spartanburg re-took the lead for good, with 39 seconds remaining, when Tee'Ara Copney hit a lay-up to make the score 48-46.
On the heels of having her jerseys retired for both basketball and volleyball, at Franklin High school on Wednesday, Simpson had a career night in the infancy of her time with Western Carolina. She scored a career-best seven points, including hitting her second three pointer of the season, had a steal and two rebounds.
Fellow newcomer, junior Hana Haden, had a career game with eight points and also hit a season-best two three pointers. The two treys by Haden were the only three-pointers in the game for Western Carolina.
It was free throws that were the crux for Western Carolina with the Catamounts hitting 16-of-24 for the game. The Catamounts struggled from the charity stripe in the first half, hitting 7-of-12.
Western Carolina did win the rebounding battle, 39 to 33 and committed 13 turnovers to USC Upstate's 19.
Haden, Hunnicutt and Wakama led Western Carolina with eight points. Shauna Terry paced the Catamounts with seven rebounds.
Western Carolina opens Southern Conference play on Saturday at 5 p.m. hosting UNCG.