BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Lees-McRae senior Kerri Belcher registered a double-double while sophomore Niroska Perez dropped 23 points for the second consecutive game, but the women's basketball team fell short against Conference Carolinas foe Erskine, 86-79, at Williams Gymnasium Monday evening in Banner Elk, N.C.
The Flying Fleet (9-8, 7-4 CC) claimed the victory following a dominating performance from Naomi Stuger, who had 30 points and 13 rebounds while teammate Tara Potter was good for 19 points and 10 boards. The Bobcats (5-12, 4-7) saw a two-game win streak snapped despite a quartet of players amassing 13 points or more.
Perez (Asheville, N.C.) went 7-for-13 from three-point land while EC went 3-for-13 as a team from behind the arc.
Potter and Stuger combined for nine points while the Flying Fleet defense held LMC without a bucket for 5:12, holding a 21-12 lead at the 11:04 mark.
Freshman Mackenzie Blankenship (Elizabethton, Tenn.) continued her impressive campaign with a pair of buckets to shave the deficit to five, 23-18.
EC took its largest lead of the contest at the 6:49 mark following a pair of free throws from Marnasha Eugene.
Eugene finished the contest with 10 points.
Coach Michele Williams' team caught fire from three-point range while Perez and senior Kabrina Truesdale (Wilmington, N.C.) combined to sink three of them in a span of 1:37.
Truesdale finished with 16 points and a season-high 12 assists.
Stuger used a layup to put EC up 41-36 at the intermission.
Perez nailed two more three's before a pair of Belcher (Roanoke, Va.) free throws made it 48-44.
Belcher put the offense on her shoulders and rattled off seven consecutive Bobcat points to tie the contest at 67 with 7:54 remaining.
EC's defense stymied the Bobcats by not allowing a bucket the final 4:55 while Stuger scored 15 of EC's final 25 points.
LMC forced 21 turnovers while sophomore Kathleen Casey (Gray, Tenn.) tallied a season-high 13 points.
The Bobcats return to action Friday, Jan. 23 for a CC tilt at Barton in Wilson, N.C. at 5:30 p.m.