Cobras surge past Bobcats, 77-58

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Amber Lau poured in 27 points in the first half to propel the Coker College women's basketball team to a 63-29 halftime lead, and the Cobras held off a late rally by Lees-McRae College en route to a 77-58 victory in Conference Carolinas play on Saturday afternoon in Williams Gymnasium.

Coker (2-2, 2-0 CC) shot 47.3 percent from the floor in the contest, including a blistering 61.1 percent in the first half, while holding Lees-McRae (0-4, 0-4 CC) to a 37.7 percent clip from the field on the night. The Cobras won the battle on the glass by a 40-30 margin, including a 25-16 advantage on the defensive boards, as Coker converted 21 Bobcat miscues into 35 points.

Juliane Faltus (Berlin, Germany) paced the Bobcats with 12 points in 12 minutes off the bench, going 6-for-7 from the floor as Kabrina Truesdale (Wilmington, N.C.) added eight markers and four assists. Zukye Smith (Chesterfield, Va.) and Layana de Souza (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) each added seven points, while Smith hauled down a team-high six boards.

Lau led all scorers with 29 points on 9-of-14 shooting, connecting on 7-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc while also snatching six rebounds. Angie Lawrence added 18 points and game-highs of five assists and five steals, as Hailey Yohn chipped in 13 markers and Priscilla Fenty posted a contest-best 10 boards.

Coker got off to a strong start in the first half, taking an early 20-4 lead after Lau knocked down her fourth three-pointer of the period with 15:05 left on the clock. Lau would push the advantage to 44-15 with 6:49 to go, capping a trio of Cobra three-pointers with a triple of her own.

The Bobcats battled back, outscoring the Cobras by an 8-4 margin over the next two minutes as Truesdale capped the spurt with a freebie at the 4:18 mark. Coker countered with a 10-0 spurt, pushing the lead to 58-23 before de Souza answered a Lau triple with a trey of her own with 1:35 left on the clock. The Cobras would take a 63-29 advantage into the intermission, as Fenty converted a trio of free throws in the closing seconds of the first half.

After Coker opened the second half with a 6-0 run, Lees-McRae countered with a 20-5 surge to close the gap to 74-49 following a Faltus jumper and a pair of de Souza free throws with 4:57 to go. The Bobcats would finish strong over the final five minutes, closing out the game on a 9-4 run to equal the final margin of 77-58 on a pair of last-second jumpers by Faltus.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Monday when the Bobcats host Salem International University in non-conference play at 6:30 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.

- LMC -