By Carey Phillips
Western Carolina’s women’s basketball team snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 69-64 non-conference victory over winless Charleston Southern on Dec. 4 in the Ramsey Center.
Lauren LaPlant scored a career-high 24 points for the Lady Cats.
Jewel Smalls, who was recently named Southern Conference Player of the Month, had her eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and a career-high 20 rebounds.
Tembre Moates added 12 points.
Kelsie Ruff-Mills led the Lady Buccaneers with 18 points. Sharita Godfrey added 12, and Sma’Mya Leigh had 11.
WCU never trailed and took the lead for good at 15-12 on Smalls’ three-pointer with 2:31 left in the first quarter.
Andrea Martin-Ruiz hit a trey with 14 seconds left for a 24-17 advantage entering the second period.
LaPlant’s layup made it 26-17 with 8:17 to go in the half.
CSU scored eight straight points narrowing the deficit to 26-25 on Asia Smith’s layup at the 6:06 mark.
LaPlant hit a pair of three-pointers in a 10-3 run, capped by Smalls’ trey, for a 36-28 advantage with 2:49 on the clock.
Western was up 36-30 at halftime.
The Lady Cats started the second half with an 8-2 spurt, including four by Smalls, to lead 44-32 with 6:03 to play in the third stanza.
They were on top 55-43 at the quarter break.
The game’s biggest margin was 60-45 on Jada Miller’s jumper with 7:28 remaining.
The Lady Bucs made the score more respectable but came no closer than the final.
WCU shot 49.1 percent from the floor, and CSU made 41.5 percent of its attempts.
The Lady Cats dominated the boards 42-26.
Western committed twice as many turnovers as the Lady Bucs, 26-13.
Completing the WCU scoring were Judith Martin-Ruiz with six, Andrea Martin-Ruiz with five, Miller with three and Alyssa Walker with two.