By Carey Phillips
Southern Conference women’s basketball co-leader Samford and last place Western Carolina played on even terms until the final two and a half minutes last Thursday with the Lady Bulldogs finally pulling away to win 62-50 at the Ramsey Center.
Shauntai Battle scored 20 points for Samford. Sarah Myers followed with 16, and Natalie Armstrong had 10.
Tembre Moates and Andrea Martin-Ruiz both scored 14 for the Lady Cats. Jewel Smalls had a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
The difference in the game was at the foul line where the Lady Bulldogs were 19 of 24 and Western was three of six. The lady Cats were called for 18 fouls, but Samford as whistled for only six.
Although WCU never led and there were just three ties, the deficit was only 51-48 when Smalls hit a foul shot with 2:32 on the clock.
The Lady Bulldogs ended the game on an 11-2 spurt, including six by Armstrong.
With Battle scoring six, Samford jumped to an 8-2 lead with 6:26 to play in the first quarter, which ended with the score 15-12.
Charity Brown had four points in a 9-2 run giving the Lady Bulldogs a 26-16 advantage with 4:29 remaining in the half.
Samford was up 29-25 at halftime.
The third period was close with Western pulling into a 39-39 tie on a basket by Martin-Ruiz at the 1:58 mark.
Paige Serup made one of two foul shots with one seconds left in the quarter for a 41-40 Lady Bulldog edge.
WCU shot 40.4 percent from the floor, and Samford made 36.5 percent.
Western had a 35-33 rebounding edge. Armstrong led the Lady Bulldogs with nine.
The Lady Cats committed twice as many turnovers as Samford, 16-8.
Completing the WCU scoring were Lauren LaPlant with six, and Judith Martin-Ruiz and Alyssa Walker both with two.