BANNER ELK, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College women's basketball team blew a an early 15 point lead to fall to the Converse College Valkyries, 70-65, Monday night in a Conference Carolinas women's basketball game in Williams Gymnasium.
Lees-McRae built an early 14 point lead, 24-10, with 14:26 to play in the first half on hot shooting from Janina Thurau and Lauren Casey, who accounted for the first 21 of the team's 24 points. The Bobcats took their largest lead a minute later when Colette Montgomery hit the a free throw to give the Bobcats a 15 point lead, 25-10.
With just under seven minutes to play in the half, Lees-McRae held a 12 point lead, 37-25, only to see an Alaina Smith field goal spark a 16-2 run to give the Valkyries a 41-39 lead going into the break.
After the half, the two teams traded the lead for the first five minutes of the half before a Morgan Sacharski field goal would give Converse the lead for good in the game, 51-48, with 13:50 to play.
The Valkyries pushed their lead to seven, 55-48, with 12 minutes remaining on Katie Vaughn free throws, but Lees-McRae would battle back and cut the lead to three, 61-58, on a Casey three with five and a half minutes to play.
Converse would stay just out of reach of the Bobcats and hold on to the 70-65 win.
Thurau paced the Lady Bobcats with a career-high 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor and 7-of-9 shooting from three. Casey, who was, 6-of-11 fg, 4-of-5 three points and 7-of-8 from the free throw line, added 23 points and seven assists for Lees-McRae. Those two players accounted for 73 percent of the Lees-McRae offense, and it was the first time all season two Lady Bobcat players had scored over twenty points. Montgomery and Sophie Witte grabbed nine and seven rebounds respectively for the Lady Bobcats.
For the Valkyries, Ashley Arff scored a team-high 17 points and was followed by Ashley Day and Smith who had 11 points and ten points respectively. Day also had a team-high eight rebounds and Latrell Nickens had four assists.
Lees-McRae will have a quick turn around when St. Andrews travels to Banner Elk Tuesday for game scheduled to tipoff at 4 p.m.