Thompson leads Bobcats past Valkyries, 76-70

Box score

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Senior Erin Thompson (Ashburn, Va.) poured in a season-high 21 points as the Lees-McRae College women's basketball team shot 57.7 percent in the second half en route to a 76-70 win over Converse College in Conference Carolinas play on Thursday night.

Lees-McRae (6-15, 6-10 CC) posted a field goal percentage of 43.6 percent on the night, including a 15-for-26 showing in the second half, while holding Converse (4-19, 4-12 CC) to a 33.8 percent clip in the game. The Valkyries won the battle on the glass by a 50-41 margin, including a 20-8 advantage on the offensive boards, as Lees-McRae converted 29 Converse miscues into 26 points.

Thompson knocked down 9-of-11 attempts from the floor, including a 2-for-3 night from three-point range, to pace four Bobcats in double figures. Janina Thurau (Berlin, Germany) nearly recorded a triple-double, tallying 15 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists to go along with a game-high five steals. Sophie Witte (Hamburg, Germany) notched a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, while Melissa Jensen (Aarhus, Denmark) and Zukye Smith (Chesterfield, Va.) posted 10 markers and 11 boards, respectively. Kasey Haynes (Mooresville, N.C.) also dished out four assists.

Tasia Holdorf (Atlanta, Ga.) led all scorers with 23 points for Converse, connecting on 8-of-16 attempts from the floor off the bench. Katy Vaughn (Lebanon, Tenn.) and Amber Mooney (Tallahassee, Fla.) chipped in 13 and 11 points, respectively, while Morgan Sacharski (Sussex, Wis.) notched a team-high 11 boards.

Converse opened the first half with a quick Mooney jumper before Lees-McRae answered with a 7-1 run, taking an early 7-3 lead on a Thompson bucket at the 16:34 mark. The Valkyries fought back, claiming a 15-12 advantage on the heels of a 12-5 run that was capped by a Mooney layup with 11:35 to play in the half.

After Lees-McRae rallied to take a 17-15 lead and Converse countered with a 5-2 spurt to claim a narrow 20-19 margin, the Bobcats launched a 6-0 run to open a 25-20 advantage on a three-point play by Jensen with 5:41 left on the clock. Converse battled back to even the score at 29-29 on a Holdorf jumper at the 2:08 mark, and after Lees-McRae pushed the lead to 34-29, closed out the period with a 4-0 spurt to cut the margin to 34-33 heading into the intermission.

Lees-McRae responded in the second half, opening the period with an 11-2 run to open a 45-35 lead on a Thompson jumper with 16:47 to play. Converse stormed back, answering with a 14-4 run to even the score at 49-49 on a jumper by Brandy Williams (Spartanburg, S.C.) with 12:28 left on the clock.

The Valkyries continued the run, taking a 55-51 lead on a pair of Holdorf free throws at the 9:14 mark. Lees-McRae answered with a 4-0 spurt to even the score at 55-55 on a fast break layup by Thompson with 8:53 to play. The teams would trade baskets for much of the next five minutes, exchanging buckets until Thompson knocked down a clutch three-pointer with 4:11 to play to give LMC a 65-63 lead.

After Mooney cut the lead to 66-65 with a pair of free throws, Thompson drained another key triple, giving the Bobcats a 70-65 advantage with 2:44 to play. The Bobcats held on from there, knocking down several clutch shots to preserve the 76-70 victory.

Lees-McRae returns to the hardwood on Saturday when the Bobcats travel to Mount Olive, N.C. to take on Mount Olive College in a 5 p.m. conference matchup. The Trojans won the teams' first matchup of the season by a 76-61 margin in Williams Gymnasium on Jan. 30.

- LMC -