BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Milligan College women's basketball team outscored Lees-McRae by a 48-25 margin in the second half to rally past the Bobcats for an 81-65 victory on Monday night in Williams Gymnasium.
Milligan (7-3) posted a 45.6 clip from the field, including a 54.2 mark in the second half, while holding the Bobcats (0-2) to a 37.5 percent field goal percentage. The Buffaloes forced 30 Bobcat turnovers on the night, converting those miscues into 29 points while limiting LMC to a 24.2 percent clip in the second half, including a 0-for-16 mark from beyond the arc.
Heather Mandela (Fairfax, Va.) led the Buffaloes with a game-high 17 points, while also posting contest-bests with eight rebounds and three blocks. Ashlee Price (Rogersville, Tenn.), Johneshia Good (Johnson City, Tenn.), and Alisha Mainer (Flag Pond, Tenn.) joined Mandela in double figures with 15, 14, and 12 points, respectively. Mandela, Jaimee Hill (Johnson City, Tenn.), and Kayla Kelly (Chattanooga, Tenn.) each tallied a game-high four assists.
Icey Patterson (Seneca, S.C.) poured in a team-high 13 points, dishing out a squad-best four assists, while Kasey Haynes (Mooresville, N.C.) and Janina Thurau (Berlin, Germany) each tallied 12 markers. Chloe Parker (Chicago, Ill.) and Zukye Smith (Chesterfield, Va.) each pulled down a game-high eight rebounds, while Patterson and Megan Tate (High Point, N.C.) each posted a team-best four assists.
Milligan started off strong, opening an early 7-3 lead in the first three minutes before Lees-McRae responded, closing the gap to 13-12 with a 9-6 spurt that was capped a Haynes triple with 13:42 remaining in the period. The Buffaloes answered, launching a 13-4 run to take a 26-16 lead on a Mandela jumper at the 9:25 mark.
After Milligan took a 31-25 lead on a pair of Kelly free throws, the Bobcats would respond with a tremendous run of their own, launching on an 11-0 surge to take a 36-31 lead on back-to-back three-pointers from Thurau and Haynes with less than three minutes to go in the half. Lees-McRae would then close out the half with a 4-2 spurt, taking a 40-33 lead into the intermission following a Patterson layup.
Milligan responded in the second half, opening the period with a 15-5 run to take a 48-45 lead on a Price triple with 15:05 remaining. After LMC answered with a quick 6-2 spurt to even the score at 51-51, the Buffaloes responded with an 8-2 run to take a 59-53 lead on a Price triple with 10:14 to play.
Lees-McRae would trim the margin to 59-57 with a pair of quick baskets before Milligan regained control, launching a 19-3 run to widen the advantage to 78-60 with 2:23 remaining. The Buffaloes then closed out the win with four of the final six points to equal the decisive 81-65 margin.
The Bobcats return to the court on Friday when they travel to Salisbury, N.C. to take on Catawba College on the first day of Catawba's Thanksgiving Classic. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m.
- LMC -