Dec. 1, 2013
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina women's basketball (4-3) held off a late surge from East Tennessee State University (ETSU) (2-4) to defeat the Buccaneers 58-56 Sunday in the Ramsey Center.
The Catamount victory is its fourth straight. Western Carolina has won three of its last four at home.
With 2:34 left in the game, ETSU's Brianna McQueen drained a three-pointer to trim the Catamount lead to one, 57-56. Both teams suffered from missed chances in the final minutes. Western Carolina had a chance to add points but junior Ali Lane missed the front-end of a one-and-one with 12 seconds remaining.
Junior Justin Taylor ripped down the rebound from Lane's missed free throw and was promptly fouled. Taylor hit 1-of-2 free throws to all but ice the game. Cara Bowling launched a three-pointer for ETSU with three seconds remaining but it was off the mark and Western Carolina took the game.
It was a full blown battle between Western Carolina and past and future Southern Conference opponent ETSU. The game was tied seven times and the lead changed eight.
Senior guard Kristen Lyon sat out the first six games on the year due to an injury but made the most of her first appearance in a game this season. Lyon came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points, 12 of those in the first half. Lyon came off the bench with 16 minutes left in the first half and scored six straight points for Western Carolina.
Western Carolina also got key bench points from senior guard Rena Wakama who led all scorers with 17 points. She scored nine points in the first half and eight in the second.
Wakama gave Western Carolina a huge momentum boost at the end of the first half as she nailed a three-pointer as time expired. With the scored tied at 33, Wakama launched a three-point attempt as the buzzer sounded at it sailed through the goal to give the Catamounts a 36-33 lead heading into the locker room.
The Catamounts shot 40.4 percent in the game and held ETSU to 35.6 percent. Western Carolina ripped down 41 rebounds, 29 on the defensive side, and the Buccaneers had 38. The Catamounts had two first-half three-pointers but failed to connect on one in the second half.
Western Carolina returns to action Wednesday when it travels to Presbyterian. Tip time is set for 7 p.m.