Catawba tops Lees-McRae, 79-45

Box score

SALISBURY, N.C. --- The Catawba College women's basketball team utilized a 23-3 run early in the first half en route to a 79-45 victory over visiting Lees-McRae College on Friday night in Goodman Gym.

Catawba (3-3) won the battle on the glass by a 53-30 margin, including a 22-9 advantage on the offensive boards, while holding Lees-McRae (0-3) to a 30.9 percent clip from the floor. The Catawba Indians posted a 45.1 percent clip from the floor, forcing 24 turnovers and converting those miscues into 29 points.

Dana Hicks (York, S.C.) posted a double-double with game-highs of 17 points and 10 rebounds, leading a group of five Catawba players in double figures. Milica Ivanovic (Belgrade, Serbia) nearly recorded a double-double of her own with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Elizabeth Merritt (Lexington, N.C.), Kisha Long (Dallas, N.C.) and Courtney Mull (Sanford, N.C.) each turned in a 10-point performance.

Megan Tate (High Point, N.C.) paced the Bobcats with 11 points, while Chloe Parker (Chicago, Ill.) and Natalija Cakarevic (Belgrade, Serbia) each posted six markers. Parker also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds, while senior Erin Thompson (Ashburn, Va.) posted a game-high three steals.

Catawba started strong, scoring each of the game's first eight points to kick-start a contest-opening 12-2 run, taking a 12-2 lead on a Long layup with 16:33 to go in the first half. The Catawba Indians would stretch the lead to 23-3 over the next five and a half minutes, pushing the margin to 29-5 on a Long layup with 8:13 remaining in the period.

After Lees-McRae answered with a quick 4-2 spurt, the Catawba Indians responded with a run of their own, stretching the margin to 35-9 on a pair of Hicks free throws with 2:57 left on the clock. Lees-McRae closed out the half on a strong note, trimming the margin to 35-14 with a 5-0 spurt heading into the intermission.

Catawba reclaimed the momentum early in the second half, opening the period with a 12-4 run to take a 47-18 lead with 15:29 to play. After the Catawba Indians pushed the margin to 60-24 with a 13-6 spurt, the Bobcats responded, launching an 8-2 spurt to cut the margin to 62-32 on a Tate jumper with 5:27 remaining on the clock.

Catawba answered with a 10-5 spurt, stretching the lead to 72-37 on a Johnna Foster (Huntersville, N.C.) triple with 2:52 to play. Lees-McRae finished strong, closing out the night with an 8-5 spurt before Mull knocked down a last-second jumper for Catawba to equal the final margin.

The Bobcats return to the court on Saturday when they take on Brevard College on the second day of the Comfort Suites Classic, hosted by Catawba. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. in Goodman Gym.

- LMC -