Women's Basketball

Collins, Blankenship Pace Offense in Tough Loss to Mount Olive, 69-65

Collins, Blankenship Pace Offense in Tough Loss to Mount Olive, 69-65

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Senior Tayler Collins recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, but the Lees-McRae women's basketball team dropped a close 69-65 contest to Mount Olive in a Conference Carolinas game Tuesday evening at Williams Gymnasium in Banner Elk, N.C.

The Trojans (2-2, 1-0 CC) had a trio of players in double figures, led by Ni'Ya Styles with 20. The Bobcats (0-5, 0-1) forced 23 turnovers while dishing out 19 assists on 26 field goals.

The first quarter was a high-scoring affair while a Mackenzie Blankenship (Elizabethton, Tenn.) three-pointer gave LMC a 9-7 advantage halfway through the opening frame.

Sophomore Caitlin Brown (Kingstown, N.C.) scored a trio of buckets and freshman Alexis Ammons (Asheville, N.C.) knocked down a jumper, giving the Bobcats a 17-16 advantage after the first.

Blankenship and Ammons sparked a 13-5 run in the second and the Bobcats took a 34-30 lead into the intermission.

Both teams hit a pair of threes and four free-throws in the first half.

Collins (Fayetteville, N.C.) tallied a couple of layups in the early going of the third quarter, but Styles and Arieal Johnson led the UMO offense on a 14-6 attack, 44-40.

LMC's Brea Forbes (Freeport, Bahamas) nailed a three while Markia Stacey (Morganton, N.C.) earned one of her team-high six assists with 3:58 remaining in the third.

The Bobcats eventually tied the contest at 48 after a Collins jumper.

The game remained a see-saw battle until late in the fourth when the Trojans broke a 57-all tie with an 8-0 run, sparked by threes from Styles and Shy'Lia Buie.

Freshman Breana Hardnett (Greensboro, N.C.) and Collins connected on triples with less than a minute remaining and cut the deficit to two, 67-65.

However, Styles calmly made two free throws while LMC's attempt at a buzzer-beater fell short.

Blankenship finished with 12 points while Brown had 10. Stacey pestered UMO's offense by amassing four steals.

The Bobcats scored a season-high 65 points.

LMC returns to action Saturday, Nov. 28 when it visits Radford for an exhibition at 2 p.m. in Radford, Va.

- LMC -