Lady Camels give Watkins 500th win vs. WCU

Wanda Watkins  (Greg Tayor photo)
Wanda Watkins (Greg Tayor photo)

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Campbell head coach Wanda Watkins notched her 500th career victory on Saturday night with a 73-60 win over Western Carolina inside Gore Arena/John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center. Junior guard Kiera Gaines(Mechanicsville, Va.) notched a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while senior forward Roslyn Presley (Petersburg, Va.) added 21 second-half points.

"This is an amazing moment for the history of the Lady Camels' program," said coach Watkins. "I am honored to have been given the opportunity to have an impact on all the student-athletes and coaches that have worn the Orange and Black. Campbell is a place that I hold dear to my heart and have been grateful for the opportunity that I was given 33 years ago to lead this program."

Following the game, Director of Athletics Bob Roller congratulated coach Watkins and unveiled a banner commemorating her 500th victory at Campbell with the crowd of 434 on its feet. The moment was captured in the photo gallery that is linked at the top of the page.

Coach Watkins joins a group of 27 active coaches in Division I with at least 500 wins. The Camels' first female scholarship student-athlete is one of six coaches that has completed 32 seasons at the same institution.

She played for Campbell (1975-79) and served as the team's captain as a senior and earned MVP honors in 1977-78. Watkins has tallied a 500-402 (.554) record during her career as the Lady Camels' head coach.

Registering nine-point performances for Campbell (2-1) were sophomore guard RaeChaun Edwards (Spring Grove, Va.), who also tallied a career-best seven assists, and senior forward Ashley James (Round Rock, Texas). Senior guard Jessica Moore (Jacksboro, Tenn.) buried her first two three-point shots to aid the Lady Camels to an early 12-6 lead.

Lindsay Simpson paced Western Carolina (0-3) with 16 points. Rena Wakama added 13 points and Justin Taylor scored 11.

The Lady Camels crashed the boards and recorded a 45-to-25 advantage in rebounds, including 16 offensive. Five offensive rebounds by Gaines aided the Lady Camels to 18 second-chance points, while 40 points came in the paint.

Western Carolina was cautious with the basketball, only committing 13 turnovers, but Campbell made the most of nine steals by scoring 19 points in transition.

"I am really glad that our players earned this victory tonight," said coach Watkins. "They picked up their second win of the season in a hard-fought game, where we played with a lot of heart. It was a tremendous second half, probably the best we have played this season against a very good Western Carolina team."

After the Catamounts held a 33-27 lead at halftime, Campbell outscored its opposition 46-27 in the second frame.  A 16-5 run moved the Lady Camels ahead 67-56 with 4:41 left following a three from Edwards.

The Lady Camels went back to basics in the second half by going to the paint and forcing the Catamounts to defend the basket, which allowed for open shooters on the perimeter with the home team going 4-of-8 from beyond the arc in the frame.

The largest lead for the Catamounts was eight with 3:30 left in the first, while the final score, a 13-point spread, was the biggest advantage for the Lady Camels.

Campbell plays its popular Education Day contest against UNC Wilmington on Tuesday with the tip at 11:45 a.m. The Camels welcome local elementary schools to pack Gore Arena/John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center.