ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Senior Kaila'Shea Menendez scored nine points in overtime and a team-high 21 points to lead Western Carolina to a 61-56 come-from-behind victory over Georgia Southern in the second game of the 2012 Southern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Friday at Kimmel Arena in Asheville, N.C.
Junior Diamond Hunnicutt's two clutch free throws with 1:07 remaining in regulation gave the Catamounts (13-16, 8-12 SoCon) a one-point lead, before a layup by Eagle guard MiMi DuBose tied the game at 45 with 14 seconds remaining, ultimately pushing the game into overtime.
Western Carolina jumped out to a quick seven-point lead in the overtime period before Georgia Southern (8-21, 4-16 SoCon) cut the lead to two-points off a layup and free throw by freshman Anna Claire Knight with 48 seconds remaining. Four straight free throws by the Catamounts put the game out of reach.
"I felt like we were a little rushed early. We didn't have our composure, committing 15 turnovers," said Western Carolina head coach Karen Middleton. "We just had to take a deep breath, so that's what we talked about in the locker room; be composed and play within ourselves."
Freshman Makensey Campbell scored 20 points for the Catamounts, while Ali Lane added 11 points and a team-high four assists. Janae' McKinney led all players on the boards, pulling down seven rebounds.
DuBose recorded a team-high 12 points. Senior Janay Wilson had eight points and a team-high six rebounds in the contest.
"I thought we played well and we played hard," said Georgia Southern head coach Rusty Cram. "I thought we had a good post presence in the first half, but the second half we had none. We have to give them credit because they took some of that presence away from us in the second half."
Western Carolina will face No. 2 Appalachian State tomorrow, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. in Kimmel Arena.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Junior Morgan Wrightson scored 17 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead Wofford past the College of Charleston, 64-53, in the opening game of the 2012 Southern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Friday at Kimmel Arena in Asheville, N.C.
The game capped a 30-year coaching career for Cougars head coach Nancy Wilson, who is retiring following 17 years at the helm of the College of Charleston program. A native of Lake City and a graduate of Coker College, Wilson, who coached all 30 years in the state of South Carolina, is one of only 24 NCAA Division I head coaches to win 500 games.
"Both teams played very hard today," said Wilson following the game. "I really thought this would be a game that came down to the wire since we had spurts where we were in control, then they had spurts where they were in control. I am very proud of this team; I have been proud of them all year long. Our staff loves them, and we just wish them the very best in the future."
College of Charleston led throughout the first half, taking a 23-20 lead at halftime off a jumper by sophomore Alyssa Frye. With the teams deadlocked at 33 apiece with 14 minutes remaining in the contest, Wofford (13-17, 5-15 SoCon) went on a 19-5 run over the next seven minutes, taking a 52-38 lead, its largest of the game, and putting the contest out of reach of the Cougars.
Junior Rachel Brittenham recorded 13 points and a team-high seven assists in the Terrier victory, and fellow junior Daniella Motley added 11 points. Sophomore Logan Morris also scored in double-figures, tossing in 10 points for Wofford.
"Our kids played with incredible energy on the defensive end," said Wofford head coach Edgar Farmer after the victory. "We knew College of Charleston was going to make a run, but we weathered their run and we finished strong. If we play hard for 40 minutes with this same type of energy and execution, I like our chances in tomorrow's game. We're excited to advance in the tourney."
Frye led the Cougars (7-23, 6-14 SoCon) with 14 points, while sophomore Jillian Brown added 12 in the effort. Sophomore Alexis Hicks tossed in 10 points, while leading CofC with eight boards.
Wofford will take on the top-seeded Davidson Wildcats Saturday (March 3) at noon in the Justice Center on the campus of UNC Asheville.