Lady Catamounts Finish Strong to Defeat Davidson

The Western Carolina Lady Catamounts took advantage of their home court by defeating Davidson 72-66 on Monday, Jan. 25. After leading by one point, 37-36, at halftime, Western Carolina built as much as a five point lead, 43-38, early in the second half before Davidson went on a 14-4 run to take a five-point lead, 52-47, with 9:47 left. Western Carolina continued to battle and cut Davidson’s lead to one, 59-60, when Brooke Johnson drained a three-pointer at the top of the key. The Lady Catamounts took the lead for the first time in the second half, since the 11:22 mark, when Johnson hit a pair of free throws with 5:00 left in the game.

The Lady Catamounts held a questionable lead throughout the remainder of the game, and held a slim three-point lead with 3:32 left when Davidson’s Alex Thompson went in a for a lay-up to cut the WCU lead to one, 65-64.

A missed lay-up by Emily Clarke gave Davidson the ball back, but senior Catamount Lauren Powell stole the ball. A wide three-point shot led to Davidson’s Ashley Lax rebound. Powell turned up her defense and again stole the ball. With 1:31 left, junior Kristen Feemster spotted Jessica Jackson open on the right side, and Jackson nailed a three-pointer.

Davidson’s Thompson again sliced Western Carolina’s lead to two, 68-66 with 1:08 left, but Feemster came back down the court with an answer. Feemster hit a layup off an assist from Johnson, with 22 seconds left, and was also fouled by the Wildcats. Johnson nailed her free throw to give Western Carolina a comfortable five-point lead to secure the win.

Free throws were a key to the Lady Cats success. The team shot 75 percent from the foul line for the game.

Western Carolina’s 83.3 percent, 15-of-18, from the free throw line in the second half kept the Lady Catamounts in the game when the team went on a scoring drought from the field. The Lady Catamounts turned the ball over just 12 times, a season best for the team. Western Carolina also had 40 rebounds in the contest, 26 of the boards off the defensive glass.

Johnson a senior center, led the team in scoring with a game-high 22 points, and also notched her second-straight double-double with 11 rebounds. This also marked the seventh double-double of her career and third this season. She was 6-of-8 from the field and a perfect 4-of-4 from the three-point line and 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Johnson also had two blocks in the contest and now needs just 22 to break the school record, 127, for blocks in a career.

Davidson had three players score in double figures and was led by Thompson and Ashley Lax who each had 12 points. Mandy Halbersleben added 10.

The Lady Catamounts have won three straight games improving their overall record to 11-8 and 7-4 in the Southern Conference while the Wildcats fall to 8-13 and 7-5 in the SoCon.