Tornados rally past Bobcats in second half, 63-57

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Brevard College women's basketball team outscored Lees-McRae College by a 37-24 margin in the second half, overcoming a 33-26 halftime deficit en route to a 63-57 victory in non-conference play on Saturday afternoon in Williams Gymnasium.

Brevard (3-5) won the battle on the glass by a 38-35 margin, including a 12-8 advantage on the offensive

boards, posting a field goal percentage of 34.5 percent while holding Lees-McRae (1-5) to a 34.7 percent clip from the floor. The Tornado converted 24 Bobcat miscues into 24 points, and edged Lees-McRae by a 28-20 in the paint.

Layana de Souza (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) led all scorers with 21 points off the bench, going 4-for-8 from the floor while knocking down each of her 11 attempts at the free throw line. Kabrina Truesdale (Wilmington, N.C.) chipped in 10 points and a game-high five steals, while Alyssa Munson (Summerfield, N.C.) posted contest-bests of 10 rebounds and two blocks. Kerri Belcher (Roanoke, Va.) added a strong performance with eight points, seven boards, and three steals for the Bobcats.

Micheala Watkins paced the Tornados with 19 points and four steals, as Tuccoa Brackett added 17 markers with an 8-for-17 night from the floor to go along with a team-high six rebounds.

The Bobcats jumped out to an early 6-0 lead before Brevard answered, taking a narrow 9-8 lead on a Brackett jumper at the 15:21 to cap a 9-2 run. After de Souza converted a pair of free throws to give the Bobcats a 10-9 advantage, the Tornados countered with a 13-4 run, claiming a 22-14 lead following a Brackett jumper with 9:52 left in the half.

Lees-McRae would answer with a 5-2 spurt to trim the margin to 24-19, and after Brevard countered with a pair of free throws, the Bobcats put together a 14-0 run to close out the half on a buzzer-beating layup by Belcher to send her team into the intermission with a 33-26 lead.

Brevard responded in the second half, opening the period on an 18-8 run to take a 44-41 lead following a layup by Micheala Watkins with 9:44 to play. After de Souza and Belcher answered with a trey and a layup to even the tally at 46-46 at the 7:30 mark, the Tornados countered with a 10-4 spurt to take a 56-50 lead on an Asheley Watkins lay-in with 3:20 left on the clock.

The Bobcats would stay within striking distance, cutting the lead to 58-55 on a three-pointer by Lauren Lewis (Concord, N.C.) with 26 seconds to go. The Tornados finished strong over the final 20 seconds, converting five-of-six attempts at the free throw line to close out the hard-fought, come-from-behind victory.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Tuesday when the Bobcats host Virginia Intermont College in non-conference play at 4 p.m. in Williams Gymnasium.

- LMC -