Hot Start Fuels Bobcats, LMC Wins Fourth Straight, 82-69

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- A trio of Lees-McRae women's basketball players registered double figures while LMC extended its win streak to four games with an 82-69 win against North Greenville in Conference Carolinas action Saturday afternoon at Williams Gymnasium in Banner Elk, N.C.

The Bobcats (8-8, 5-2 CC) capped off a perfect home stand by trailing only 53 seconds in the final two games of the stretch while shooting an impressive 54.5% in the first half. The Crusaders (5-10, 1-6) found themselves in a 17-point hole and was unable to climb out after shooting a mediocre 53.8% from the free-throw line.

"I feel that the girls are really starting to focus and buy into what we are trying to do," said head coach Michele Williams. "We came out with a big lead and were able to do what we wanted to do on both ends of the floor."

Seniors Lauren Lewis (Concord, N.C.) and Layana De Souza (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) knocked down a pair of three's each to jump the start the Bobcat offense as part of a 28-11 run to start the game.

LMC's offense was nearly unstoppable, hitting 11 of its first 18 shots from the floor.

Freshman Niroska Perez (Asheville, N.C.) got in on the long-range fun with a three on consecutive possessions at the 12:50 mark.

Bobcat sophomore Alyssa Munson (Summerfield, N.C.) dropped five of her game-high 15 points while LMC stretched its lead to 21, 48-27.

The Bobcats went 18-of-33 from the floor, including 7-for-12 from three-point range. LMC's 48-point first-half effort marked a season-high.

The Crusaders would cut into the lead following a Tierra Richberg jumper, 52-37, at the 16:56 mark.

NGU wouldn't back down while it went on a 16-7 run to shave the deficit to 11, 71-60 following another Richberg bucket.

Senior Icey Patterson (Seneca, S.C.) responded with a fastbreak layup and a pair of free-throws to help the Bobcats seal their fourth straight win.

LMC has produced a four-game win streak in each of its last three seasons.

The Bobcats forced 18 turnovers and hit 10 more free throws (17-7) than NGU. Munson (15), De Souza (13) and Lewis (12) led the way offensively while Munson corralled eight boards.

North Greenville was led by Timisty Nelson, who finished with 13 points while Taylor Vinson chipped in with 12.

The Bobcats hit the road for the first time since Jan. 4 with a trip to battle Mount Olive in Mount Olive, N.C. on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.