BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Brittany Steen (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) scored 17 points to lead the Tennessee Wesleyan College women's basketball team to an 81-73 win over Lees-McRae College on Thursday night, holding off several furious second-half Bobcat rallies in LMC's season opener.
Tennessee Wesleyan (4-2) posted a scorching 54.5 percent clip from the floor, including an even 50 percent (11-for-22) from beyond the arc, as Lees-McRae (0-1) shot 40 percent from the field while knocking down 12-of-25 attempts from downtown (48 percent). The Bulldogs won the battle on the glass by a 41-30 margin, including a 28-19 advantage on the defensive boards.
Megan Tate (High Point, N.C.) poured in a game-high 18 points for the Bobcats, while Janina Thurau (Berlin, Germany) and Icey Patterson (Seneca, S.C.) chipped in 15 and 13 points, respectively. Thurau recorded a game-high two blocks, while also tying Tate and Melissa Jensen (Aarhus, Denmark) for the team-lead with four rebounds.
Steen paced the Bulldogs with 17 points, while Amy Jo Castor (Athens, Tenn.) posted 16 markers. Leah Frazier (Riceville, Tenn.) dished out a game-high five assists, while Candace Cain (Benton, Tenn.) pulled down a game-high seven rebounds. Steen and Castor each tallied six rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Tennessee Wesleyan started off strong, opening an early 16-6 lead on a Cain jumper with 15:47 to go in the half. Thurau responded for the Bobcats, knocking down back-to-back threes to cut the lead to 16-12 with 13:44 remaining in the period. Lees-McRae would stay within five points for much of the next six minutes, until Tennessee Wesleyan launched a 17-9 run to head into the intermission with a 48-36 lead.
Lees-McRae would battle back in the early minutes of the second half, cutting the margin to 50-45 with a Thurau triple at the 14:42 mark on the heels 9-2run. Tennessee Wesleyan refused to cede control, stretching the lead back out to 12 points twice over the next 10 minutes after the Bobcats fought back to within five each time.
After a Christine Lumbasio (Nairobi, Kenya) layup pushed the margin back to 12 at 66-54 with 5:30 to play, Candace Flowers (Charlotte, N.C.) knocked down a triple to kick-start a 13-5 run by the Bobcats, which trimmed the margin to 71-67 with less than two minutes remaining on the clock. The Bulldogs would retain the lead over the final two minutes, clinching the win with some clutch free throw shooting down the stretch.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Monday when the Bobcats host Milligan College in a rematch of the teams' Nov. 11 exhibition in Milligan College, Tenn. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.
- LMC -