Women's Basketball

Blankenship, Brown Produce Career Nights in Win Against Southern Wesleyan, 83-79

Caitlin Brown scored a season-high 14 points Wednesday against UMO.
Caitlin Brown scored a season-high 14 points Wednesday against UMO.

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Sophomores Caitlin Brown and Mackenzie Blankenship dropped career highs while the Lees-McRae women's basketball team used a strong first half to outlast Southern Wesleyan, 83-79, in Conference Carolinas play Friday evening at Williams Gymnasium in Banner Elk, N.C.

The Bobcats (6-13, 5-7 CC) saw all five starters score in double figures and freshman Markia Stacey (Morganton, N.C.) delivered a game-high nine assists. The Warriors (4-14, 1-11) used a 15-point effort from Taylor Vinson.

Blankenship (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Brown (Kingstown, N.C.) scored 22 and 18 points, respectively. Brown was nearly perfect by shooting 9-for-10 from the field.

Senior Tayler Collins (Fayetteville, N.C.) started the scoring parade early and often, scoring six points in the first 2:39.

Coach Michele Williams' defense was lights out in the first quarter by holding SWU without a point for 5:37 while the offense ripped off a 15-0 run.

Blankenship scored the final eight points of the run.

Freshman Breana Hardnett (Greensboro, N.C.) scored on a layup with 34 seconds remaining in the first while LMC took a nice 30-13 lead into the second quarter.

Both teams exchanged buckets midway through the second, before a Vinson triple forced a Bobcat timeout with 5:55 on the clock.

LMC responded with strong defense once again and held the Warriors without a bucket in the last 5:21 of the half.

Brea Forbes (Freeport, Bahamas) recorded six of her 10 points in a three-minute span and used an and-one play to give the home squad its largest lead of the night, 49-26.

The Bobcats shot a staggering 57.1% from the field in the first half and led 51-28.

SWU's Tomi Sanchez and Blankenship tallied two buckets each in the opening moments of the third before the Warriors used a 12-2 run to shave the deficit to 11, 57-46.

Sanchez finished with 13 points while teammate Chelsie Waters notched 10.

The Warriors nailed a trio of triples to make it interesting with 5:12 remaining, 75-70.

Following an Alexis Ammons (Asheville, N.C.) jumper, SWU put together an 8-2 run to make it 79-78 with 1:14 left in regulation.

Blankenship and Forbes went 3-for-4 from the charity stripe with four seconds left following a technical foul from SWU's bench to cap the win.

Stacey finished with 10 points while Brown had a team-high nine rebounds.

LMC led wire-to-wire.

The Bobcats welcome Converse Saturday, Jan. 30 at 4 p.m. for a CC battle in Williams Gymnasium.

- LMC -