Lady Catamounts upset Chattanooga

The adjustment period is over for the Lady Catamounts. Totaling just 9 wins last season, Western has surpassed that win total and it is only January. This time a year ago, Western Carolina and Chattanooga needed overtime to settle their 1st meeting (that game was in Cullowhee). The circumstances were the exact same a year later, but the result was different this time around. The Lady Catamounts out-scored the Lady Mocs 11-3 in the extra overtime session to leave McKenzie Arena with an 80-72 victory in front of 1,528 screaming fans. The win moves Western to 10-7 on the season and 4-2 in the Southern Conference. The 1st half did not go Western’s way as Chattanooga scored 10 seconds into the game, and did not let go of the lead the entire 1st half, with their biggest lead being 14 points at 29-15 with 7:25 remaining in the 1st half. Western cut it to 2, 33-31 over a span of 2 minutes on the strength of a 10-0 run, but the Lady Mocs would up the lead to 6 on back-to-back lay-ups from Kristen Spann and Alex Anderson. The Lady Catamounts cut the lead to 4 on a Lauren Powell jumper to go into the locker room trailing 37-33.Chattanooga used a 7-2 run to begin the 2nd half and regain a double-digit lead of 10. Western gained its 1st lead of the game by going on a 12-0 run over the span of the next 5 minutes to take the lead, 50-48. Over the final 11 minutes, the lead changed 9 times and involved 2 ties as well. The largest lead was 4 until Chattanooga extended the lead to 6, 67-61 with 4:15 left in the game. Western went on an 8-to-2 run, closed by sophomore transfer Brooke Johnson’s lay-up with :32 left in the game to tie it at 69. Lady Mocs looked poised to milk the clock down and get a basket to win the game, but Western’s defense had other plans; using a smothering defense to hold Chattanooga from getting a shot off and forcing a shot clock violation with 4 seconds left. Western had their opportunity with little time left on the clock as Ashley Pellom brought the ball the length of the court and tried a runner as time expired, but it fell just short and would go to overtime.In overtime, Anderson used a 3-point play to take the 3-point lead, 72-69 with 4:30 left in the extra frame. After that basket, the Lady Mocs did not score again the rest of the game. Brooke and Jessika Johnson scored on back-to-back baskets to re-take a 1-point lead and continued on an 11-0 run to close out the game and win in Chattanooga, 80-72. For just the 4th time in the school’s history, Western won in Chattanooga, snapping their 8-game skid against the Lady Mocs. The overtime win allows the Lady Catamounts to improve to 2-0 in overtime games this season, the other coming against Weber State at the Rocky Mountain Invitational back in November.Despite losing the battle of the boards, 41-38 to Chattanooga, the Lady Catamounts turned in an impressive showing from the free throw line by going 13-of-14 (93%), best on the season. In the Overtime period, the Lady Mocs went a measly 1-of-7 (14%) from the floor and only managed 15% (3-of-20) from 3-point land on the game, good for its lowest output of the season.Junior Monique Dawson led 5 Lady Catamounts in double figures, tying her career-high with 24 points. Classmates Pellom and Chevon Keith chipped in 13 and 11, respectively; Pellom dished out 6 assists to help her cause. Powell, the sophomore, scored 12 points, 6 of her points coming from beyond the arc. Brooke Johnson rounds out the double figured scorers with 10 points.The Lady Mocs (11-6, 4-2 SoCon) were led by a pair of double-figure scorers. Anderson, the junior, led the way with a career-high 34 points, becoming the 1st Chattanooga player to score 30 or more points in a game since 2001. She had 10 rebounds, and a double-double to add to the cause. Junior Laura Hall was the double-figure scorer with 13 points, 9 of which came in the 1st half. No other player on the Lady Mocs had more than 6 points.