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Former FHS standout Lindsay Simpson (L) was named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman team for her success with the Western Carolina Catamount.Simpson named to Southern Conference All-Freshmen team

Former Franklin High School basketball standout and current Western Carolina University freshman Lindsay Simpson has turned heads in her first season as a Catamount. WCU's women's basketball closed out their season in the first round of the Southern Conference Tournament after a loss to Georgia Southern last Friday. Simpson led the team in the heartbreaking loss with 14 points against the higher ranked opponent.

Before entering the tournament, Simpson was named to the 2013 Southern Conference All-Freshmen team by the leagues coaches as well as the SoCon Sports Media Association.

The local point guard played in all 30 games this season and became a consistent starter in the last half of the season. Simpson was able to average 7.2 points per game and scored in double digits in nine of the games this past season and managed to end the season as Western's leading scorer.

Her standout performance came against Furman on January 13 where she scored 25 points in a triple overtime showdown that saw WCU pull out the win, 88-83. She can put her collegiate best on the shelf next to the university's since no player on the women's team has scored that much in four years.

Despite receiving such an honor this early in her collegiate career, if Simpson’s past is any indication, the 5-foot-7 guard is just getting started. In high school she was named WNC's “Player of the Year,” All District “Player of the Year,” the 3A Western North Carolina Athletic Conference “Player of the Year,” and was selected to the Associated Press 1st team All State. On top of these accomplishments Simpson also led the state in scoring her junior year with an average of 30 points a game, first in N.C. and ninth nationally and led the Franklin Panthers to a WNCAC tournament title.

Simpson finished her high school career with the second-most career points in WNC history for a girls player and was chosen to play in the East-West All-Star basketball games in 2012. At this point few from her hometown and former team are surprised by her success, but all are extremely proud.

Simpson averaged 7.2 points per game and played in all 30 games of the season.“It doesn't surprise me that she's been named to the All-Freshmen team. She's such a competitor and she has a tremendous work ethic,” said Simpson’s former basketball coach, FHS girls varsity coach, Scott Hartbarger. “I'm just very happy for her that she's able to accomplish that her first year.”

“When you talk about the quality of basketball that is played in the Southern Conference, which is very good and highly respected, that is a great accomplishment,” said Franklin High School Athletic Director Jay Brooks, “Lindsay is working very hard over there. She's done some great things and has a bright future. I'm proud for Western, I'm proud for Franklin High School and I'm extremely excited for Lindsay.”

“I am happy that Lindsay is enjoying this success in her first year of collegiate athletics. She is an extremely hard worker and very driven, so these achievements come as no surprise,” said FHS Principal Chris Baldwin. “I certainly wish her the best in all that she attempts.”

Simpson follows a family tradition which has seen her grandfather play football at WCU in the 50's. Others in her family as well as her father, David, and her mother, Anna Shields, played volleyball and basketball at the University from 1980-1984. Filled with pride, Shields watched every game, but two this season from the stands.

“I could not be more proud of her accomplishments. She has done an outstanding job of balancing the transition to college life while excelling academically and athletically,” said Shields.

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