Lady Catamounts finish out 06′ with a pair of wins

The Western Carolina Lady Catamounts finished out 2006 with a pair of much deserved wins and completed their 11-game road swing with an impressive 7-4 record. The final away game of 06′ saw the Lady Catamounts knock off the Lady Spartans of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 53-52 in front of 219 fans at Fleming Gymnasium. The win gives the Catamounts their 2nd Southern Conference win. The loss drops UNC-Greensboro to 6-4 on the season and still winless in the conference at 0-2. Defense was the name of Western Carolina’s game plan in the 1st half as they held the Lady Spartans to a mere 22% field goal percentage. Western held UNC-Greensboro to a meager 16 points in the half, a season-low allowed by the Lady Catamounts. Aside from a season low in points, the Lady Spartans did the best they could to keep it close early by forcing 11 turnovers, but it was not enough as they trailed by 12 going into halftime, 28-16. The 2nd half saw more of the same from the Lady Catamounts, but it did not last forever. As with 1:55 left to play in the game, the Lady Spartans would take the lead on consecutive lay-ups to take the 52-51 lead. UNC-Greensboro had numerous chances to increase their over the rest of the game, but could, despite forcing another WCU turnover, do nothing with it. With 16 seconds left, Jasmine Dixon fouled newcomer Brooke Johnson and put her on the line with a chance to win the game for the Lady Catamounts. She wisely sank the 1st free throw to tie the game at 52. UNC-Greensboro would call a time-out to try and psyche out Johnson before her 2nd free throw, but it would not work and she calmly swished the 2nd one to take a slim 1-point lead with just a few seconds left. UNC-Greensboro would commit a costly turnover and be forced to foul Ashley Pellom as she came up with the steal, but could not convert the free throws. It did not matter, as Chevon Keith got a last second steal to seal the win, 53-52. Lauren Powell was the only player to score in double figures with 10 points, 9 of which came in the 1st half. Keith contributed 9 points to go along with 10 rebounds and just missed out on back-to-back double-doubles. Johnson chipped in 8 points, 6 of which came courtesy of the charity stripe, adding 6 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots to add to her cause. Kendra Eaton was a valuable asset off the bench, scoring 7 points. UNC-Greensboro was led by senior Jasmine Byrd’s game-high 16 points while KaLeah Latham chipped in 9 points. Irene Otamiri and Kemena Brooks each had 8 points apiece. The final game of 2006 was a homecoming of sorts for the Lady Catamounts as they had not played at home since the middle of November, but they treated the 219 fans that were in attendance at the Ramsey Center to an early New Year’s present, a 69-61 victory over the Lady Eagles of Eastern Michigan University. The win moves Western to 8-5 on the season and Eastern Michigan falls to 5-6 on the season.The 1st half saw Eastern Michigan take the lead on 3 different occasions, but it was only a 2-point lead each time. The lead switched hands 6 times and the score was tied 6 times also. The Lady Catamounts finished the 1st half on a strong, high note with a 16-6 run to take a 10-point lead going into halftime, 36-26.The Lady Eagles would keep it close in the 2nd half, but Western would respond with a pair of lay-ups from Chevon Keith and Ashley Pellom and get the lead back up to 10 at 53-43. Finding themselves down by 16 points with 6:45 left in the game, Eastern Michigan would use a 10-0 run to cut the lead down to 5 within the final minute, but Western would make good use of the free-throw line to seal the victory despite shooting just 5-for-12. They were able to hold on for the 69-61 win for their 3rd consecutive win.In just her 2nd year of college basketball, Lauren Powell would post double figures for the 30th time, leading the way with 16 points. Keith chipped in 13 points, to go along with 8 rebounds. Monique Dawson and Brooke Johnson each added 10 points each. Johnson was the only player to grab double-digit rebounds with 14. Kendra Eaton came off the bench to score 7 and junior Ashley Pellom grabbed a career-high 8 rebounds.Three players from Eastern Michigan each scored in double figures. Junior Patrice McKinney led the way with 14 points. Kelly Watts scored 11 off the bench and Alyssa Pittman recorded 10 points in the loss. The teams’ leading scorer, senior Sarah VanMetre, who averages 17 points a game, was held to just 9 points.