Dec. 17, 2011
BIRMINGHMAM, Ala. - Western Carolina women's basketball (4-6, 0-3 Southern Conference) dropped an overtime heartbreaker, 64-61, to Samford (6-4, 1-2 SoCon) Saturday in the Pete Hanna Center.
Tied at 53 heading into overtime, Samford out-scored Western Carolina in the extra five minutes of basketball 11-8. After trading baskets early in the OT, Western Carolina managed to break a 57 all tie with a jumper by Caitlin Hollifield.
The almost unflappable Kaila'Shea Menendez, who is shooting 95 percent from the free throw line and ranked third in the nation, missed one of two free throws and squelching the chance to give WCU a four point lead. Up by three points, 60-57, Western Carolina had an opportunity to go up by five, but again, the Catamounts missed at the charity stripe when Kristen Lyon went 1-for-2.
The missed free throws came back to bite Western Carolina in the form of a five-point swing by the Bulldogs, A lay-up by Ruth Ketchum and a three-pointer by Taylor Reece, with 30 seconds left, gave Samford a one point advantage, 62-61, with 30 seconds left.
Western Carolina had its chances, which seemed to be the catch-word for the Catamounts in the game. Hollifield missed a lay-up with 16 seconds left, but Western Carolina got the rebound. However, Rena Wakama was called for a foul and the ball went back to Samford.
With eight seconds, the Bulldogs Anderson iced the game with a pair of free throws.
Up by 14 points, 42-28, with 11:18 left in the second half, after leading 30-20, at halftime, Western Carolina's shooting went cold and Samford took advantage when the opportunities presented. The Bulldogs were struggling with their inside game early, but got a spark from Jazmine Powers whose two quick-hitting lay-ups, and a three-pointer by Anderson cut the Catamount lead quickly to five points.
In total, in a nine minute span, Samford went on a 21-9 run to eventually take the lead, 49-48 with 2:52 left on the clock. Western Carolina tied the game when Janae' McKinney hit 1-of-2 free throws. After the game was tied again, at 51, with 1:39 left, Western Carolina took the lead when McKinney hit both of her free throws.
With 21 seconds left, Ketchum was fouled by Hollified and she drained both free throws to tie the game at 53. The Catamounts had a chance to win the game, as the ball came into the hands of the oft times hot-handed Menendez, but her shot fell of the mark and the game went into overtime.
Menendez was on fire in the first half, with 14 points and 4-of-5 from behind the three-point arch. However, she picked up her third foul early in the second half and was held to just three points in the final 20 minutes. Menendez and McKinney led the Catamounts with 17 points and Hollifield added 13.
Western Carolina out-rebounded Samford 42-34 and had six three-pointers to the Bulldogs five. Samford shot 46.2 percent from the field while WCU was at 34.9 percent.
The Catamounts did not go to the free throw line in the first half, but was 11-of-19 from the charity stripe in the second half and overtime.
Western Carolina will close out SoCon play for 2011 at Chattanooga at 7 p.m. Monday.