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Furman To Face Western Carolina, UNCG In Pair Of SoCon Road Contests

Furman Paladins
Furman Paladins

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Furman's women's basketball team opens the second half of its Southern Conference schedule on Thursday when it travels to Cullowhee, N.C., to face the Western Carolina Catamounts before heading on to Greensboro to take on UNCG in a Saturday contest.

Tipoff for the Western Carolina game, set to streamed via ESPN3 and televised over WMYA "My40 from WCU's Ramsey Center, is set for 5:00 p.m.

Saturday's contest at UNCG's Fleming Gymnasium is a 4:00 p.m. start and will be live streamed over ESPN+.  Links to live stats for both games can be accessed thru FurmanPaladins.com.

For Furman (12-10, 4-3 SoCon) Thursday's clash at Western Carolina (4-18, 0-7 SoCon) tips off the second loop thru the SoCon for the Paladins, who are currently tied for third in the league standings with East Tennessee State behind front runner Mercer and second place Chattanooga. 

Head coach Jackie Carson's squad fell to Mercer, 75-60, last Saturday in Timmons Arena, halting an eight-game conference home winning streak dating back to last season.

Furman topped Western Carolina, 65-55, in the campaign's first meeting in Greenville on Jan. 12, behind sophomroe forward Celena Taborn's 15 points and a season high 14-point effort by freshman small forward Jade Kirisome (5x10 FGs, 3x8 3PFGs).  Senior forward Kaitlyn Duncan also came up big, tallying 14 points to go along with eight rebounds.

The Paladins have won five of the last six meetings with the Catamounts and lead the all-time series, 43-35, but Furman has had its issues in Cullowhee over the years, going 15-20 on WCU's home court.  Two years ago the Catamounts trimmed the Paladins, 75-72 in overtime, in Cullowhee, but FU bounced back to claim last year's meeting, 68-59, thanks to solid 3-point shooting (7x13 3PFGs).

Junior All-SoCon guard Le'Jzae Davidson (17.3 ppg), Furman's scoring leader, has climbed to 18th on the school's career scoring ledger (1,151 points) after becoming the 24th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.  The Nashville, Tenn., native also established new Furman standards for 3-pointers made and attempted earlier this year.

Davidson is joined in the double figures by sophomore forward Celena Taborn (12.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg), the SoCon leader in field goal percentage (.686).  The 6-foot-3 Sidney, Ohio, product has struggled in the last two games, registering a combined seven points and eight rebounds in 32 minutes of action.

Another Paladin who is looking for a bounce-back game is redshirt junior small forward Taylor Petty (8.2 ppg).  The transfer from Presbyterian College, where she earned 2016 Big South Conference Freshman of the Year honors, has averged just 4.3 ppg in SoCon play.

The return of redshirt sophomore forward Tierra Hodges (6.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg) from a foot injury that sidelined her for seven games in December and early January, has been a plus.  The Covington, Ga., product is coming off a 10-point, 11-rebound outing versus Mercer and has been a warrior on the glass of late, garnering 55 caroms over the last five games, including a career high 16 in the Paladins' 63-50 win over Wofford on Jan. 26.

Furman will shoot for the season series sweep at UNCG on Saturday after downing the Spartans, 64-61, in Greenville on Jan. 10 behind a 22-point performance by Davidson and 20-point outing by Taborn.