Lady Catamount winning streak continues

With the conference tournament only a few short weeks away, Western Carolina is by far on the hottest streak of any Southern Conference team as of lately. The Lady Catamounts extended their winning streak to nine games with a pair of wins over Davidson College and Appalachian State University to improve their record to 17-7 on the season and 11-2 in the Southern Conference.Western would get retribution for an earlier loss this season at home to Davidson by returning the favor and defeating the Lady Wildcats by 11, 67-56 in front of 878 fans at Belk Arena in Davidson, North Carolina.Finding themselves down by four early in the game (4-0), Western knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers to take the lead for good after Lauren Powell’s’ second 3-pointer with 14:50 left in the first half. Western would go on to score 27 of the next 39 points to extend their lead to 17, 33-16 with 4:56 left in the half and would take a 15-point lead into the locker room, 41-26. Western’s bench played an important role in the first half with 13 bench points. Western also hit seven 3-pointers in the first half.After halftime, the Lady Catamounts would pick up right where they left off with an early 8-3 run to begin the second half and take their largest lead of the game at 22, 51-29 with 13:30 left in the game. Davidson would respond to the deficit with a 22-5 run over the next 10 minutes to pull within 8, 56-48 with 3:30 left to go. Western would kill Davidson’s drive after Powell knocked down her fifth 3-pointer of the game with 3:14 left to move the lead back into double digits, and Western would seal the game by going 4-for-6 from the free-throw in the final 45 seconds and take the win, 67-56.Powell led the way for the Lady Catamounts with 21 points, including five of Western’s season-high 10 3-pointers. Monique Dawson joined Powell in double-figures with 13 points and also added nine rebounds to help her cause. Chevon Keith tied Dawson with nine rebounds to go along with nine points and four assists. Sophomore Brooke Johnson moved into seventh place on Western’s single season list for blocks with four swats. Junior Ashley Pellom dished out three assists to move into eighth on the career assists list.Davidson’s leading scorer, Katie Hamilton, was held to just two points on only 1-of-9 shooting. The Lady Wildcats (18-5, 9-3 SoCon) were led by three double-digits scorers. Julia Paquette and Danielle Hemerka led the way with 12 points apiece. Jessica Mitchell rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11.For the second year in a row, the Lady Catamounts win both regular season matches against the Appalachian State Lady Mountaineers. Western would take the lead early in the game and never relinquish it as they go on for the 77-68 win in front of 474 fans at the Holmes Center in Boone, North Carolina.Trailing early for the second game in a row, Western would use a Lauren Powell 3-pointer to take the lead for good and start a 20-4 run over the span of eight minutes to take a 23-9 halfway through the first half. Over the remainder of the half, Western would lead by as many as 19 points twice before going into halftime up by 15, 39-24. Western’s defense played a vital role in the first half lead, forcing 17 turnovers in the half.Western would once again gain the 19-point lead, 43-24 with 17:31 left. The Lady Mountaineers would attempt to cut into that lead with a 13-2 run over the next three minutes and cash in on numerous Lady Catamount turnovers to get as close as eight points, 45-37 but their undoing would come on getting nothing on back-back- possessions which would spark a 20-7 run for Western and give them their biggest lead of the game of 21 points, 65-44 with 5:56 left in the game. Appalachian State would mount a 24-12 scoring advantage over the final six minutes to try and cut the lead down, but Western would knock down 8-of-10 free throws over that stretch to ice the game and take an 8-point win back to Cullowhee, 77-68.Powell led the Lady Catamounts with a game-high 19 points, going 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Brooke Johnson and Monique Dawson added 15 apiece while Dawson grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Chevon Keith would round out the double-figure scorers with 12 points and also had five steals. Freshman Heather Swayne scored five points and had a pair of steals as Western set a season-high for steals in a game with 16 takeaways.Appalachian State (11-13, 5-8 SoCon) also had four double-digit scorers as Carleena Costner led the way with 16 points, Maria Grimes chipped in 12 points. Whitney Tossie and GiGi Thomas rounded out the double-digit efforts with 11 each. Jamie Bennett led the team in rebounds with 12 boards to go along with eight points.