Photo courtesy of Matt Jones
BANNER ELK, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College women's basketball team dropped its Conference Carolinas contest on Saturday (Jan. 5) at home to Belmont Abbey by a score of 74-66.
Game Summary - Belmont Abbey led 16-15 after a well-paced first quarter. The two teams played to an 8-8 tie over the first five minutes, before Markia Stacey drilled a triple and Allie Downing scored a layup to leave Lees-McRae up 11-10. Coming out of a Lees-McRae timeout, the two teams went scoreless for about two minutes before Keyanna Spivey and Brea Forbes traded buckets to put Lees-McRae up 13-12. After Downing scored a pair of free throws at the two-minute mark, Alexis Ammons knocked down a jumper to put the Bobcats back up by one with one minute to play in the quarter. Spivey scored a layup with 13 seconds left in the frame to give Belmont Abbey their one-point lead after 10 minutes.
The two teams played an equally-even second quarter, which Belmont Abbey won 15-14. The two teams traded buckets through the first two and a half minutes that left the Crusaders up 22-19, before they extended their lead to five at the three-minute mark with a Maria Kuhlman jumper. A jumper from Brea Forbes got the Bobcats back to one possession with just over five minutes to play, before Manuela Fungate countered with a layup. A Forbes three-pointer and a Destiny Johnson layup 48 seconds apart tied the game at 26, before free throws from Spivey and a triple from Alexis Schulz got the Belmont Abbey lead back up to five approaching the final minute of the half. Another Johnson bucket as well as one Ammons free throw served as the final points of the half, with Belmont Abbey leading 31-29.
Belmont Abbey would out-score Lees-McRae 22-16 in the third quarter, which would ultimately help the Crusaders pull away in the game. After a furious two minutes and change that left the teams tied at 36, Brea Forbes would score the next five points countered by one free throw from Spivey to leave Lees-McRae up by four. The two teams would trade buckets over the next several minutes, before a small run by Belmont Abbey would stretch out the score in the final minutes of the quarter. The Crusaders stretched their lead to as many as eight on the run to take a 53-45 lead to the final 10 minutes.
Each team would score 21 points in the fourth quarter, leaving the eight-point difference that separated the two teams at the beginning of the frame. Belmont Abbey extended their lead to as many as 15 in the frame, holding Lees-McRae to just two points over the first three and a half minutes, before Lees-McRae called timeout. The lead extended to as many as 19 around the halfway mark of the quarter, before a Meg Crawford bucket and a long ball from Hope Ramsey got the Bobcats some momentum. The Crusaders would extend their lead back up to 19 points in the final minutes, before Lees-McRae would trim the deficit back down to nine in the final minute. Crawford would net eight of the Bobcats next 10 points, but Belmont Abbey was able to run out the clock and seal the victory.
Stats Rundown - Lees-McRae shot 37.0 percent (27-73) from the floor, just 19.4 percent (6-31) from beyond the arc and 60.0 percent (6-10) at the free throw line in the loss. Three Bobcats scored in double figures in the effort, led by a team-high 20 from Forbes. Crawford also contributed 13 on the day, while Destiny Johnson added 10. Lees-McRae totaled 33 rebounds in the contest, with 14 on the offensive end and 19 on the defensive end. Johnson paced the effort on the glass with a team-high seven boards. Stacey also dished out a game-high seven assists in the game. Lees-McRae also scored 17 points off turnovers, eight second-chance points, 16 points in the paint and got 12 points from its bench.
Up Next - Lees-McRae (6-7, 3-3 Conference Carolinas) hits the road on Tuesday (Jan. 8) to travel to Erskine for a Conference Carolinas tilt. Tip-off is slated for 5:30 p.m.