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Western Carolina Holds Off Furman In Three Overtimes, 88-83

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Brittany Hodges

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Lindsay Simpson scored 25 points and Rena Wakama added 23 — both career highs — to help Western Carolina hold off Furman, 88-83, in triple overtime in Southern Conference women's basketball action Wednesday evening at Timmons Arena.

Simpson scored the first four points in the third overtime period and Wakama's rebound and layup following her own miss with 3:06 remaining in the game gave Western Carolina an 85-83 lead and proved to be the game winning points for the Catamounts (5-12, 3-5 SoCon), who snapped a four-game losing streak and won for only the second time in their last 11 games.

Brittany Hodges led Furman (6-11, 2-6 SoCon) with 21 points followed by Holli Wilkins and Teshia Griswold with 15 apiece.

Western Carolina shot 60 percent in the first half, draining 15-of-25 shots, including several driving layups, to grab a 36-26 lead at intermission following Simpson's running one-hander in the lane as time expired

The Catamounts picked up where they left off in the second half, extending the 10-point advantage to 21 points at 49-28 following an Ali Lane layup with 16:51 remaining.

At that point Furman switched to full court pressure and began a steady comeback, using a 14-2 to slice Western Carolina's lead to 51-42 on Griswold's layup at 13:28 mark.

The Catamounts led 67-55 with 3:34 to go when Furman defensive pressure and three free throws and a layup by Griswold fueled an 11-0 spurt that sliced the lead to 67-66 following one of two free throw by Hodges with 48 seconds on the clock.

A Lane free throw with 22 second to go halted the Paladin run and put WCU up 68-66.

Following a Furman timeout Brigid Morrissey fed Hodges in the post for a layup to tie the game at 68-68 with six seconds left.  Morrissey then stole the inbounds pass but her game winning shot attempt failed to connect, sending the contest into overtime.

Neither team could manage more than a two-point lead in the first and second overtimes, and it wasn't until Lane's jump shot at the 1:14 juncture of the third extra frame that put the Catamounts up, 87-83.

Western Carolina, which entered the game shooting just 33.6 percent on the season and 24.7 percent from 3-point range, finished the contest at 47.5 percent (29-of-61) overall, including 6-of-12 from beyond the arc.

The Catamounts also converted 24-of-30 free throws (80.0 percent), easily topping their season average of 67.4 percent.  The 88 points marked a season high and almost doubled WCU's 49.2 scoring average.

Western Carolina's solid shooting effort helped overcome 32 turnovers.

Furman connected on 41.0 percent of its shots (32-of-78) for the game but struggled in overtime, making good on just 5-of-18 shot attempts in the extra 15 minutes.

Morrissey matched a career high with 11 assists and recorded a career best nine steals.

Lane finished with 11 points and Janae' McKinney rounded out Western Carolina's double figure scoring effort with 10 points.

Simpson's superb 25-point effort was punctuated by 8-of-15 shooting, including 3-for-6 conversions from 3-point range, 6-for-6 work at the free throw line, two steals, and no turnovers in 45 minutes of action.

Wakama's nine rebounds led all players.