Second half surge pushes Mountaineers past Bobcats in exhibition

BOONE, N.C. --- The Appalachian State University women's basketball team placed four players in double figures and outscored visiting Lees-McRae College by a 46-18 margin in the second half en route to a 91-54 victory in exhibition action Friday evening.

Appalachian State shot 52.9 percent from the floor in the contest, including a 57.1 percent clip in the second half, while holding Lees-McRae to a field goal percentage of 26.1 percent in the final period. The Mountaineers won the battle on the glass by a 37-27 margin, including a 15-7 advantage on the offensive boards, while outscoring the Bobcats by a 54-18 stretch in the paint.

Lauren Lewis (Concord, N.C.) paced the Bobcats with 14 points, including a game-high 12 markers in the first half, while knocking down 4-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc. Layana De Souza (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Icey Patterson (Seneca, S.C.), and Alyssa Munson (Summerfield, N.C.) each added eight points, as Kerri Belcher (Roanoke, Va.) chipped in a team-high six rebounds. Patterson posted a game-high four steals for the Bobcats.

Courtney Freeman led all scorers with 22 points, knocking down 8-of-14 attempts from the floor, as Anna Freeman added 18 markers on 7-of-11 shooting. Maryah Sydnor chipped in 15 points and a game-high eight rebounds wihle Kelsey Sharkey posted 12 markers and equaled Sydnor's mark of eight boards. Michelle Taylor recorded a game-high five assists for the Mountaineers.

The Bobcats jumped out to an early 8-2 lead in the first half on a Lewis triple before stretching the margin to 10-3 on a pair of Patterson freebies at the 15:39 mark. Appalachian State would answer with a 7-0 run, evening the tally at 10-10 on a Sharkey jumper with 13:39 to go.

After Lees-McRae countered with a 6-2 spurt to take a 16-12 advantage on a steal and a bucket by De Souza, the Mountaineers responded with a 9-5 run to level the score at 21-21 on a lay-in by Katie Mallow at the 7:39 mark. Appalachian State would stretch the spurt to 15-5 with a trio of quick buckets within one minute, taking a 27-21 lead on a Taylor jumper with 6:46 left on the clock.

Lees-McRae countered with a Lewis triple and a pair of Munson free throws, cutting the margin to 32-30 with 4:54 to go before the Mountaineers answered with a 13-6 run to carry a 45-36 advantage into the intermission.

The Mountaineers parlayed the late run into an early surge in the second half, opening the period on a 24-4 spurt to open a 69-40 lead on a jumper by Khadejah Wilkerson with 10:47 to play. Lees-McRae would battle for every possession and every basket in the second half, making several strong plays in the final minutes as the Mountaineers closed out the game on a 13-6 run to open their season with a 91-54 win.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Saturday, November 17 when the Bobcats travel to Charlotte, N.C. to open their regular and Conference Carolinas season against Queens University of Charlotte at 2 p.m.

- LMC -