Dec. 9, 2005
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina's men's and women's basketball teams are in action this weekend in their final competitions before breaking for final exams. The Lady Catamounts host the Radford Highlanders at 7:00 pm tonight (Friday) in the Ramsey Center, while the men make the cross-state trek to Greenville, N.C., to face the East Carolina Pirates on Saturday evening at 7:00 pm.
The Lady Catamounts (0-6) will host its second Big South foe in a row, dating back to last weekend's game with UNC Asheville. Radford (2-3) enters the contest after a 58-52 home loss to former WCU head coach, Beth Dunkenberger, and the Virginia Tech Hokies. Western is likewise coming off a defeat at the hands of a premier conference school, falling on the road at Auburn, 78-49.
Tonight marks the 10th meeting all-time between Western Carolina and Radford, with the Highlanders holding a one-game edge, 5-4, in the series thanks to last year's 16-point win in Virginia on New Year's Eve. Radford boasts two players in double figures, led by sophomore Shavon Earp with 13.8 points per game and her classmate Corrie Fertitta averaging 10. Off the bench, sophomore Kelli Darden leads the Big South in field goal percentage, while freshman Johnette Walker leads their league in steals (4.00 per game)
Western counters with a super sophomore and diaper dandy of its own. Second-year player Chevon Keith currently ranks third in the Southern Conference in rebounding, but leads the league in offensive boards. Freshman sensation Lauren Powell is Western's lone double-figure scorer entering tonight's game, averaging 12.2 points per game to rank fifth in the SoCon. She additionally ranks fifth in 3-point field goal percentage (48.3%) and third in 3-point field goals made per game (2.33/gm).
Tip-off Friday evening is set for 7:00 pm in the Ramsey Center.
On Saturday, Larry Hunter and the Western Carolina Catamounts visit East Carolina in an East vs. West showdown in non-conference action. Western scored early in the extra session then held on to edge the Pirates in overtime last season, 77-72. Corey Muirhead led WCU a year ago with a game-high 19 points, with David Berghoefer adding a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Western (5-6) is coming off a performance at #17 Maryland that was a tale of two halves. In the opening, the Catamounts hung in against the tough Terrapins, never trailing by more than five points, which included being behind at the break by just four, 39-35. But in the second stanza, Maryland used a steady offensive output to pull away to secure the 87-57 win in the Comcast Center.
Saturday's opponent, the East Carolina Pirates, are currently on a two-game slide, falling to the SoCon's UNC Greensboro on Tuesday night, 78-70, and to Old Dominion, 79-53, on December 3.
Western is currently being led by sophomore guard Antonio Russell, who is scoring an average of 15 points per game to rank seventh in the Southern Conference. Berghoefer is averaging 9.7 and Muirhead is pouring in 9.1. Russell is also hitting over 88-percent from the free throw line, which ranks him fifth in the league.
Air time Saturday night is 6:45 pm, with a 7:00 pm tip-off from Greenville.
Fans can follow all of the action Friday night with the Catamount Sports Network. The women's game will be carried locally in Cullowhee on WWCU-FM, Power 90dot5 and also in the Asheville area on Supertalk 1350 AM, WZNN. Both radio stations also provide live Internet feeds of the game, online at www.WWCUFM.com and www.SuperTalk1350.com. Fans can also surf to www.CatamountSports.com to follow live GameTracker, presented by the Catamount Travel Center. Steven Crumpler has the call as the Lady Catamounts host the Highlanders from Radford, air time 6:45 pm.
On Saturday night, fans can follow the play-by-play from Steve White locally in Cullowhee on Power 90dot5, WWCU-FM or in Sylva on 680 AM, WRGC. Again, www.WWCUFM.com will be available for online audio, with another option through WRGC at www.WRGC.com.