BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Melisa Foures (Kernersville, N.C.) poured in a game-high 16 points to lead the Belmont Abbey College women's basketball team to a 63-55 win over Lees-McRae College in Conference Carolinas play on Thursday night in Williams Gymnasium.
Belmont Abbey (8-8, 7-3 CC) held the Bobcats (3-10, 3-5 CC) to a 36.9 percent clip from the floor, including a 26.7 percent mark in the first half, while converting 25 LMC turnovers into 25 points. The Bobcats won the battle on the glass by a 42-34 margin, including a 17-8 advantage on the offensive boards.
Foures paced the Crusaders with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting while grabbing a team-high seven rebounds. Shayla Jackson (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Kelsey Long (Pilot Mountain, N.C.) joined Foures in double figures with 12 points each, as Jackson equaled Foures' total of seven rebounds and Candace Fox (Thomasville, N.C.) tallied a game-high seven steals. Long also dished out a game-high six assists for the Crusaders.
Janina Thurau (Berlin, Germany) paced the Bobcats with 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting, while Chloe Parker (Chicago, Ill.) and Icey Patterson (Seneca, S.C.) each chipped in 11 markers. Parker also tallied a game-high eight rebounds, while Patterson paced LMC with three assists.
The Bobcats started strong, scoring the game's first seven points before Belmont Abbey responded, answering with an 8-1 run to even the score at 8-8 on a Jackson layup with 11:41 left in the half. Belmont Abbey would extend the run by scoring the next five points, taking a 13-8 lead on a Long jumper at the 10:34 mark.
The Abbey pushed the lead to 20-10 on a Foures triple at the 6:05 mark before Lees-McRae responded, closing out the half on a 9-2 run to cut the margin to 22-19 on a three-pointer by Paige Whitaker (Harrisburg, N.C.) with 21 seconds left in the half.
Belmont Abbey reclaimed the momentum early in the second half, pushing the lead to 36-25 on a Foures triple with 15:26 to play. The Bobcats would fight back, cutting the lead to 40-34 on back-to-back buckets by Thurau at the 12:39 mark.
The Abbey would answer with a run of its own, pushing the lead to 54-38 with a 14-4 run, which was capped by a pair of Brittaney Rice (Milton, Vt.) free throws with 4:15 to play. Lees-McRae responded with a 13-5 spurt, cutting the lead to 59-51 on a Thurau triple with 39 seconds left before Belmont Abbey reclaimed control and closed out the 63-55 win.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday when the Bobcats host conference-leading Barton College (14-2, 10-0 CC) in a pivotal league matchup. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium, as the Lees-McRae athletic department is sponsoring a Coaches Versus Cancer event. During halftime, fans will be entertained by a three-point shootout between Bobcat athletic director Craig McPhail and LMC president Dr. Barry M. Buxton.
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