Women's Basketball

Bears hold off Bobcats with pair of second-half runs

Bears hold off Bobcats with pair of second-half runs

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. --- The Lenoir-Rhyne University women's basketball team closed the first half with an 11-0 run, and held off a late surge by Lees-McRae College en route to a 75-63 victory on the second day of the SAC/Conference Carolinas Challenge in Holt Fieldhouse.

Lenoir-Rhyne (2-0) shot 43.2 percent from the floor in the contest, including a 54.5 percent clip in the first half, while winning the battle on the glass by a 34-25 margin. The Bobcats posted a field goal percentage of 44.4 percent on the night, converting 11-of-15 free throw attempts and outscoring the Bears, 34-30, in the paint.

Alyssa Munson (Summerfield, N.C.) paced the Bobcats with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting, pulling down five rebounds, as Lauren Lewis (Concord, N.C.) tallied 16 markers and a game-high six assists. Natalija Cakarevic (Belgrade, Serbia) and Tayler Collins (Fayetteville, N.C.) each scored eight points, while Kabrina Truesdale (Wilmington, N.C.) added three assists and three steals.

Jazmine Charles led the way for Lenoir-Rhyne with a double-double, posting game-highs of 25 points and 13 rebounds, while Morgan Cooper and Jenni Gust added 17 and 11 markers, respectively. Danielle Bongiorno dished out a contest-best six assists.

The Bears jumped out to an 11-8 lead in the first half before the Bobcats countered with an 8-1 spurt, claiming a 16-12 advantage on a triple by Cakarevic with 12:08 left on the clock. Lenoir-Rhyne would battle back, opening a 32-29 margin following a three-point play from Cooper at the 3:35 mark.

After Lees-McRae responded with a 4-0 spurt, the Bears answered with an 11-0 run, taking a 43-33 lead into the intermission on a pair of freebies by Krystal Patton. The Bobcats fought back in the second half, cutting the margin to 46-40 on a jumper by Lewis at the 15:07 mark.

Lenoir-Rhyne answered with an 18-7 surge, pushing the advantage to 64-47 following a Cooper lay-in with under seven minutes to play. The Bobcats refused to give in, fighting back with an 11-0 run to trim the lead to 64-58 on a Collins jumper at the 3:51 mark.

The Bears would stop the bleeding with an 11-5 spurt over the last three and a half minutes, closing out the win with a quartet of freebies by Charles to equal the final margin of 75-63.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Wednesday when the Bobcats host Mars Hill University in their home opener at 6 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.

- LMC -