JEFFERSON CITY, TENN. -- The Lees- McRae Lady Bobcats won their season opener 68-54 against Division II opponent Brevard College Saturday evening at the Eagle Club Classic at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City. Tenn. in non-conference women's basketball action.
The youthful squad got off to a sluggish start as the Tornado controlled the first ten minutes of the game and took an 11-4 lead. However, the Lady Bobcats came back on an 11-0 run sparked by Kayla Newman (Charlotte, N.C.) and Brittany Roberson (Salisbury, N.C.) to take a 15-11 lead. The teams swapped shots throughout the rest of the first half as Lees-McRae built a substantial cushion heading into the lockerroom at halftime with a 13 point lead with the score 37-28.
The first half was marred by sloppy play as the teams combined for 27 turnovers, with the Tornados recording 14 to Lees-McRae's 13.
The Lady Bobcats were led by freshman Newman who had a game-high 10 points at the half. Amanda Whitaker (Asheville, N.C.) led the Tornados in the first half as she recorded a team-high eight points to go with a game-high six rebounds.
As the second half began the Tornados climbed their way to within six, but the Lady Bobcats went on a 12-4 run to put the lead back into double digits. Lees-McRae maintained the tempo of the remainder of the game and was able to stave off a late rally by the Tornados with strong defensive play to take a 68-54 win at Holt Fieldhouse.
Freshman Kayla Newman led the Lady Bobcats with a game-high 20 points and team-high nine boards, while senior Courtney Furr (Concord, N.C.) made four threes at crucial times to swing the momentum in Lees-McRae's favor and added an free throw to finish the day with 13 points and seven rebounds. Another freshman, Ashley Holland (Duncan, S.C.) made critical defensive plays for the Lady Bobcats and dished out eight assists in the Bobcat victory.
"I'm pleased that after a sluggish start our returners and our freshman contributed on both ends, " head coach Sebastian Wild said. "This is a great way to start the year, especially when you consider the youthfulness of our team. We will need to continue to improve, but I'm pleased with today's effort."
For the game, Holli Flippo (Kingston Springs, Tenn.) led the Tornados with 15 points as she connected on five of nine from three-point range. She was joined in double-digit scoring by Whitaker with 11, and junior Samantha Winn (Candler, N.C.)and Lindsay Brendle (High Point, N.C.) with 10 apiece. Whitaker completed her first double-double of the season as she recorded game-high 11 rebounds to go with a team-high four assists.
The Lady Bobcats are back in action Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. as they take on the host Carson-Newman Eagles, who earlier defeated Lander University in a high-scoring affair, 92-83.
Pictured: Kayla Newman