Photo courtesy of Jacob Turner
YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. - The Lees-McRae College women's basketball team defeated host Young Harris 59-54 in their first game of the Conference Carolinas-Peach Belt Conference Challenge on Friday night (Nov. 9).
First Quarter - The Bobcats came out of the gate scoring early and often in the opening frame, but it was followed by a late-quarter surge from Young Harris to leave LMC up 18-12 after 10 minutes. Brea Forbes began the game with back-to-back triples, before a Destiny Johnson breakaway layup would make it 8-0 less than three minutes in. Just about three minutes in, Johnson would score a layup plus a free throw to stretch LMC's lead to 11-0. Young Harris would get on the board with a pair of good free throws from Jessica Beckner, before the teams would play to the first quarter media timeout. A Meg Crawford layup with four and a half minutes to play in the first would make it 13-2, before the scoring would go dormant for a little over a minute. With two minutes and change to play, Alexis Ammons would score a bucket that extended the Bobcats lead to 13 and also tack on a free throw to make it 16-2. Young Harris's next points came with under two minutes left as Haylie Shope sunk two at the stripe, before Sarah Reid would score a layup with just over a minute left to get the game back to within 10. A triple from Rachel Dobbs with 47 seconds left would put the game back at single digits, before Taylor Fluette and Ellie Hutchinson would trade layups to leave the Bobcats up by seven. Hutchinson was fouled on the layup and would add the free throw for the final point of the opening quarter.
Second Quarter - Each team scored 14 points in the second quarter with LMC taking the 32-26 lead to the break. Markia Stacey began the scoring in the frame with a layup, before Pamela Diokpara would net a layup of her own to get YHC back within six. A jumper from Hutchinson two minutes in would get the Mountain Lions within one possession, before Mackenzie Blankenship would knock down a triple to put the Bobcats lead back up to seven. The two teams went quiet scoring until four and a half minutes to play in the quarter, when Lindsey Caudell drilled a long ball that got YHC back within four. Just inside three minutes left in the quarter, Stacey would make a pair at the charity stripe before Diokpara would reciprocate just seconds later. A jumper from Breanna Hardnett inside two and a half minutes would be followed by a triple from Dee Dee McLane, before Fluette nailed a three-pointer of her own to leave the teams separated by six with just two minutes to play in the half. Inside the final minute of the half, Crawford would score another close bucket to stretch LMC's lead to eight before Diopara scored the final bucket of the half with eight seconds remaining.
Third Quarter - The Bobcats won the third quarter 18-12 to take a 50-38 lead to the final 10 minutes. Hutchinson began the scoring in the frame with a jumper 30 seconds in, before a triple from Forbes a minute later stretched LMC's lead to seven. Just under three minutes into the quarter, Stacey would knock down a three-pointer to extend LMC's lead back to double digits. Just 30 seconds later, Crawford would score a layup to put the Bobcats up by 12 before Beckner cancelled it out with a layup of her own. A layup from Blankenship would put the Bobcats back up by 12, before another bucket from Crawford would make it a 14-point game. With four minutes left in the quarter, Blankenship would connect from long range to put LMC up by its biggest lead of the night at 17. A layup from Shope would calm the run, before Diokpara would score a layup to cut the lead back to 13. A long ball from Fluette would get the Bobcats to 50, before a Diokpara layup would get the game to its quarter-ending score.
Fourth Quarter - The Bobcats would maintain their double-digit lead for the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, before Young Harris would cut the game to just five with a run. It was too little, too late for the Mountain Lions, as the Bobcats would hang on for the 59-54 win.
Stats Rundown - Lees-McRae shot 37.5 percent from the floor (21-56), 29.6 percent from beyond the arc (8-27) and 75 percent (9-12) from the free throw line in the win. Crawford scored a game-high 14 points to lead the offense, while Forbes added nine and Blankenship and Fluette each chipped in eight. Four other Bobcats scored in the win. Young Harris won the battle of the boards 45-35, including out-working LMC on the offensive glass 26-16. Both teams pulled down 19 defensive rebounds in the contest. Lakitia Basnight pulled down a team-high eight rebounds in her first game as a Bobcat, while Crawford finished with seven boards. Six other Bobcats were active on the glass in the win. Both teams recorded 22 points each off the bench, while LMC blocked 12 shots to Young Harris's two. Crawford's eight blocks were also a game-high. LMC also scored 23 points off of Young Harris turnovers, and also scored 22 points in the paint.
Up Next - The Bobcats play their second game of the Conference Carolinas-Peach Belt Conference Challenge tomorrow afternoon (Saturday, Nov. 10) against No. 14 North Georgia. Tip-off is slated for 1:30 p.m., with video and live stats available at www.lmcbobcats.com.