Western Carolina kicked off the regular season with wins over Campbell, Central Florida and Bethune-Cookman while falling to national powerhouse North Carolina.
Saturday night, Western (3-1) defeated Campbell 56-55 when Carrie Emory’s jump shot rimmed out and the Lady Cats gained possession on a jump ball.
WCU started hot in the first half, making six of eleven shots from three-point range. Both teams battled back and forth, however, until the Lady Cats took an 18-12 lead with 10:15 left when senior center Laura Echols drained her only three-point attempt of the game.
Freshman forward Tiffany Hamm then nailed a trey with 3:34 left in the half to give the Lady Catamounts their largest lead on the half at 30-22. Fighting back into the game, Campbell would end the half with a 7-0 run to cut the Western Carolina margin to a single point.
The second half proved equally as close, featuring five lead changes and three ties. Western finally began to pull away when Hamm made a layup to give the Lady Cats a 56-50 edge with 3:49 left in the contest.
Less than a minute later, however, Stacey Hinkle hit a trey to cut the lead to 56-55. Campbell would miss their final three shots to preserve the WCU victory.
Echols, an All-Southern Conference pick, led all players with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Hamm, last year’s SoCon Freshman of the Year, added 16 points and seven boards.
Junior guard Yoneko Allen also finished in double figures with 10 points. Freshman point guard Ki-Ki Glass paced the offense with eight points and nine assists, while swiping a game-high five steals.
Western could not hold off the Tar Heels in Carmichael Auditorium last Tuesday, falling behind 9-0 at the onset and falling 100-44 to the ACC power.
Hamm led the way for the Lady Cats with 13 points and nine boards. Meanwhile, Echols just missed a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds.
WCU kicked off the 2001-2002 season competing in the University of Central Florida Golden Knights Classic in Orlando, Fla. In the opening round, the Lady Catamounts handled Bethune-Cookman 65-52.
Western managed to take an early lead against BCC when Tiffany Hamm hit a three-point shot midway through the opening half to give WCU an 18-8 edge. Keeping up the pressure, the Lady Cats finished the first half with five straight points to take a 33-21 lead into the locker room.
The second half saw more of the same from the Western squad as Bethune-Cookman never reduced the lead to less than 10 points. A 17-10 run to open the half gave WCU a 50-31 edge with just over 11 minutes left in the game.
Despite ending the game with an 8-1 run, BCC never threatened the Lady Cats.
Western finished the game shooting 50.9 percent from the field while holding BCC to just 27.4 percent. WCU also managed the ball well committing only 10 turnovers and notching 14 assists on 29 field goals.
Hamm led all scorers with 20 points while grabbing seven boards. Echols scored 13 of her 15 points in the opening half and led the Lady Cats with nine rebounds, including six on the offensive end.
Western will play Wake Forest tomorrow night in their home-opener at 7:00 p.m. in the Ramsey Center. Saturday, they will kick off a doubleheader with the men’s team, playing UNC-Asheville at 1:00 p.m. in Cullowhee.