Oct. 1, 2012
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina women's basketball officially began its first day of preseason team practice Monday, in preparation for the 2012-13 season.
The Catamounts return four starters from the 2011-12 campaign and a total of nine letter-winners. Western Carolina is anchored by a pair of redshirt seniors; guard Diamond Hunnicutt and forward Janae' McKinney. Junior forward Alex Abraham and sophomore Ali Lane round out the returning starters for the Catamounts, the team is also peppered with a total of 10 season veterans and five touted newcomers.
Hunnicutt had a solid redshirt junior campaign with a season-best 102 rebounds and averaging 4.3 points per game. McKinney led the team in rebounds with 125 and also topped the team averaging 4.0 rebounds per game.
Abraham had a break-out season, her sophomore year, upping her scoring average from 1.4 as a freshman to 5.1 as a sophomore. She more than tripled her scoring output as a sophomore with 147 points and scored in double figures five times in 2011-12. Lane was named to the 2012 Southern Conference All-Freshmen Team, playing in all 31 games and starting 29. She averaged 5.1 points per game and led the team in assists with 54.
The Catamounts are equally balanced with veterans and newcomers. Western Carolina's five includes junior college transfer Hana Haden, who is coming from Mineral Area Junior College.
In her final season at Mineral Area Junior College, Haden averaged 7.6 points per game, shot 40 percent from the floor, hit 41 three-pointers and shot 72 percent from the free throw line. She also dished out 6.4 assists per game, which ranked her seventh in the National Junior College Athletic Association.
Western Carolina opens the 2012-13 season at UNC Asheville at 4:30 p.m. on November 10. The Catamounts will play its six of its first eight games at home, which including a pair of Southern Conference games, welcoming UNCG on December 1 and Elon on December 3. The December 3 game with the Phoenix will be part of Education Day and will have a noon tip-off.
The 2013 Southern Conference Tournament will be again be hosted in Asheville with the first round games set for March 8 and the championship game slated for March 11.