CULLOWHEE, NC – Despite a 15-point rally in the games final two minutes and a game-high 25 points from Kristen Boone, UNCG couldn’t get past Western Carolina, falling 73-67 in the regular season finale. The Spartans were led by Boone who had 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field while KaLeah Latham pulled down seven rebounds.
“This was a tough loss,” head coach Lynne Agee said. “We let them get too much of a lead and we just couldn’t overcome it. We had lots of effort down the stretch but just couldn’t get it done in the end.”
Western Carolina had five players in doubles figures and was led by Chevon Keith who had 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. Monique Dawson was WCU’s next leading scorer with 14 points.
The Spartans shot 37.7 percent for the game on 26-of-69 shooting and had 33 rebounds.
UNCG came out of the locker room sluggish in the second half and allowed Western to extend their lead to 42-35 in the first minute of the half. Boone again proved to be the spark for the Spartans hitting UNCG’s first six points of the half to cut the lead to 44-39 with just under 17 minutes remaining. Otamiri was able to cut into the lead a little more with a short jumper through the right side to bring the score to 44-46 at the first media timeout.
The Spartans tied the game with a bucket on the inside by Latham but Western regained the lead on the next possession with a bucket by Chevon Keith. UNCG took a 49-48 lead on a three-pointer by Byrd but couldn’t find a defensive stop as Western scored on their next possession.
UNCG was able to get the lead down to two for the second time in the half but again couldn’t stop Western who went on a 5-0 run to take a 59-51 lead with just over seven minutes remaining. Despite a 15 point UNCG rally in the games final two minutes of play, Western Carolina claimed their 21st victory of the season and at least a share of the Southern Conference regular season title.
Western Carolina had the early 2-0 advantage after hitting a runner on their first possession but Kristen Boone was able to tie the game up with a jumper. Boone continued to make her mark and hit a three-pointer through the left side to give the Spartans a 5-2 lead in the early goings.
Irene Otamiri pushed the lead to 7-2 with a jumper but Western responded with a three-pointer to cut the UNCG lead to two. KaLeah Latham was able to steal the inbounds pass and got fouled and after converting on bucket gave UNCG a 10-5 lead.
The Spartans allowed Western Carolina to get a little momentum by forcing back-to-back fouls. Western Carolina was able to convert all four shots and coupled with a three-pointer by Brooke Johnson at the 13:50 mark gave the Catamounts a three point lead, their first since the games early minutes.
The teams traded buckets for the later part of the half but Western Carolina had the momentum and took an 18-12 lead coming out of a media timeout, capping a 9-2 run. A bucket by Brittany Frazier in the paint cut the three minute scoring drought and cut the lead to 20-14.
UNCG was able to cut the lead to six but back-to-back unanswered buckets by the Catamounts pushed the WCU lead to 20-30 with just under five minutes remaining. Boone was able to jumpstart the offense and scored two unanswered buckets to cut the lead to five and a three-pointer by Jasmine Byrd tied the game. Just as quickly as UNCG tied the game, Western was able to force several UNCG miscues and the Catamounts went into the locker room with a 38-33 lead at the break.
The Spartans will await their opponent for the first round of the 2007 Southern Conference Tournament which gets underway Feb. 27 at the North Charleston Coliseum in Charleston, SC.
WESTERN CAROLINA 73, UNC GREENSBORO 67
UNC GREENSBORO (20-9, 13-5)
Boone, Kristen 8-14 6-7 25; Byrd, Jasmine 7-16 0-0 19; Latham, Kaleah 3-7 1-2 7; Otamiri, Irene 3-12 0-0 6; Frazier, Brittany 2-7 0-0 4; Dixon, Jasmine 1-2 0-0 2; Brooks, Kemena 1-5 0-1 2; Grimsley, Gini 1-3 0-0 2; Ling, Ashley 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 26-69 7-10 67.
WESTERN CAROLINA (21-8, 15-3)
KEITH, Chevon 7-10 0-1 15; DAWSON, Monique 3-6 8-12 14; JOHNSON, Brooke 2-5 5-6 10; PELLOM, Ashley 3-6 4-5 10; JOHNSON, Jessika 3-5 4-4 10; POWELL, Lauren 1-10 3-4 6; LAMITIE, Lynsie 1-3 0-0 3; SWAYNE, Heather 1-1 0-0 3; EATON, Kendra 1-2 0-0 2; FEEMSTER, Kristen 0-0 0-0 0; MAY, Erin 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-49 24-32 73.
Halftime: WCU 38-33. 3-point goals--UNC Greensboro 8-25 (Byrd, Jasmine 5-10; Boone, Kristen 3-6; Otamiri, Irene 0-5; Brooks, Kemena 0-2; Grimsley, Gini 0-1; Latham, Kaleah 0-1), Western Carolina 5-13 (LAMITIE, Lynsie 1-2; POWELL, Lauren 1-6; JOHNSON, Brooke 1-2; SWAYNE, Heather 1-1; KEITH, Chevon 1-1; DAWSON, Monique 0-1). Fouled out--UNC Greensboro-Byrd, Jasmine, Western Carolina-None. Rebounds--UNC Greensboro 33 (Latham, Kaleah 7), Western Carolina 45 (KEITH, Chevon 10). Assists--UNC Greensboro 12 (Otamiri, Irene 3; Frazier, Brittany 3), Western Carolina 13 (DAWSON, Monique 6). Total fouls--UNC Greensboro 26, Western Carolina 16. Technical fouls--UNC Greensboro-None, Western Carolina-None. A-932
- UNCG -