BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Junior Icey Patterson (Seneca, S.C.) scored 10 points, including a desperation three-pointer as the shot clock expired, to lead the Lees-McRae College women's basketball team to a hard-fought 60-56 victory over Belmont Abbey College in Williams Gymnasium to open the Bobcats' Conference Carolinas schedule.
Lees-McRae (5-2, 1-0 CC) forced 26 Belmont Abbey (4-7, 0-2 CC) turnovers, converting those miscues into 27 points, while posting a field goal percentage of 38.3 percent on the night. The Crusaders won the battle on the glass by a 42-33 margin, including a 28-21 advantage on the defensive boards.
Patterson paced the Bobcats with a game-high 18 points, knocking down 7-of-15 attempts from the floor, while dishing out a contest-best six assists. Chloe Parker (Chicago, Ill.) added a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, as Paige Whitaker (Harrisburg, N.C.) chipped in 10 markers of her own.
Melissa Foures led the way for Belmont Abbey with 13 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, while Candace Fox nearly recorded a triple-double with 10 markers, eight boards, and six assists. McKenzie Owen also added 11 points and four rebounds.
The Bobcats got off to strong start in the first half, opening the contest with a 10-2 run over the initial four minutes. Belmont Abbey responded with a 20-7 surge of their own, taking a 22-17 lead on a jumper by Paula Regalado at the 4:33 mark. The Bobcats then closed out the half with a 10-7 spurt to trim the margin to 29-27 heading into the intermission.
Lees-McRae stayed within striking distance throughout the second half, launching a 12-6 run over a six-minute stretch to take a narrow 49-48 advantage on a clutch triple by Whitaker at the 3:24 mark. Kerri Belcher (Roanoke, Va.) then knocked down a three-pointer of her own to push the margin to 52-48, before the Abbey countered with a pair of quick buckets to trim the advantage to 52-52.
Patterson then hit perhaps the shot of the season for the Bobcats, throwing up a desperation attempt from just outside the arc as the shot clock expired. The shot found the backboard and then the bottom of the net, giving the Bobcats a decisive 57-52 lead with 29 ticks left on the clock. Patterson would convert a trio of free throw attempts down the stretch to keep the game out of reach and clinch the comeback win for the Bobcats.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Thursday when the Bobcats travel to Gaffney, S.C. to take on Limestone College in conference play at 5:30 p.m.
- LMC -