Lady Catamounts make school proud with storybook season

Although their postseason was cut short in the second round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament to Virginia Tech, the Lady Catamount basketball team has plenty of reason to be proud of the effort they put forth and of the season that they had.In the program’s 42-year history, the 2006-2007 campaign was one that the student body will never forget. The Catamounts broke a school record for the most wins in the team’s history, finishing with a 24&10 record. The Catamounts also went 15&3 in the Southern Conference, which set another milestone for the team this year. The 15 conference victories are the most by any Catamount team in SoCon history.Throughout the entire season, everyone contributed and stepped up to make the big plays for Western. They team was paced by four players averaging in double digits. It was the play of these four ladies that helped the Catamounts defeat all of their conference foes. Freshman Lauren Powell led the team with an average of 11.9 points per game. She also scored the most total points of any player, with 405. Junior Monique Dawson averaged 11.8 points per game, as well as a 4.0 rebounding average. Dawson led the team in total assists, dishing out 111 during the season. Sophomore transfer Brooke Johnson joined the Catamounts in the December 17 game against Wofford, and her impact was made immediately. She averaged 11.6 points per game off the bench. Junior Chevon Keith averaged 10.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest and also compiled six double-doubles during the year.In the 2004-2005 year, the Catamounts made it to the NCAA Tournament by winning the entire Southern Conference Tournament. As a #16 seed, the Catamounts were put against the Tennessee Volunteers in which Tennessee steamrolled Western 94-43. That season, the Catamounts finished with an overall record of 18&14, including a 10&10 record in the conference. In the 2005-2006 campaign, the Catamounts finished with a 9&20 overall record and an 8&10 record in the Southern Conference. That season, the Catamounts lost 14 of their first 16 regular season games. They turned it around towards the end of the season in four of their final six games including a game in the opening round of the SoCon Tournament to Appalachian State. The Catamounts failed to make it to any post-season tournament that year.This year, however, it was a different story as the Catamounts dominated all year long. Earning the top seed in the tourney allowed the Cats to march all the way to the Southern Conference Tournament Championship. However, they lost to the second seeded Mocs of Chattanooga, 84-66. To be rewarded for their success on the season, they were invited to play in the WNIT. They earned themselves another home game, which gave seniors Lynsie Lamitie and Erin May one final chance to say goodbye. Western demolished the East Tennessee State Buccaneers 91-63, only to lose in the second round to ACC opponent Virginia Tech 76-64.The Catamounts proved the odds wrong several times this season. After winning a share of the Southern Conference Regular Season Championship, head coach Kellie Harper and the Catamounts have enough returning talent to win it outright next year.With their historic season over, the Catamounts now move forward to next season. The Catamounts will return all but two players next season. The Catamounts will say goodbye to both Lamitie and May as they prepare to graduate from WCU. They will be remembered for their roles on the team that made the entire student body at WCU proud. If the Catamounts can keep their entire roster next season, and add more talented players to the bunch, then things can only go up from here.