BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Lees-McRae women's basketball team saw a quartet of players recorded double figures, but Belmont Abbey had three score 16 points or more while defeating LMC 75-68 in Conference Carolinas action Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at Williams Gymnasium in Banner Elk, N.C.
The Crusaders (20-7, 14-3 CC) reached the 20-win plateau thanks to efficient free-throw shooting while holding LMC to 36.9% from the floor. The Bobcats (12-14, 9-8) suffered only their second loss at home this season while having a shaky performance from the charity stripe (12-of-22).
Senior Lauren Lewis (Concord, N.C.) splashed a jumper to propel the Bobcats into the lead, 14-8.
BAC responded with a 7-0 run over the next two minutes before an Icey Patterson (Seneca, S.C.) three-pointer gave LMC the lead back, 17-15.
The Crusaders responded with an 11-3 run while Kelsey Long knocked down three consecutive buckets, scoring seven of her game-high 17 points to put the visitors up, 26-20.
Belmont Abbey's McKenzie Owen converted a traditional three-point play at the 1:44 mark, 31-24, but Tayler Collins (Fayetteville, N.C.) and Kerri Belcher (Roanoke, Va.) chimed in with a bucket each to shave the deficit to three.
However, Caitlyn Ranson drained a three with 21 ticks left in the first half, 34-28.
The Crusaders shot a solid 48.1% from the floor in the opening half.
Belmont Abbey stretched the lead to 14, 51-37, following a 17-9 run in the first 4:42 while Long connected on a pair of triples.
Kabrina Truesdale (Wilmington, N.C.) corralled a rebound and scored on the putback to shrink the deficit to eight, 55-47.
The Crusader offense sparked another run, 10-3, after Morgan Midkiff knocked down four consecutive free-throws.
The Bobcats were resilient and responded with a 7-0 run of their own following a trey from senior Layana De Souza (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).
Midkiff delivered a crucial blow with a deep three at the 2:15 mark to push the lead back to 12. Lewis would get fouled with seven seconds remaining and swish all three free-throws, but LMC was unable to complete the comeback.
Lewis and Belcher had 13 points each while Patterson and De Souza had 11 and 10, respectively. Sophomore Alyssa Munson (Summerfield, N.C.) led both squads with 12 rebounds.
Midkiff and Long dropped 17 points apiece while Tajanna Brown led the team with nine rebounds.
LMC concludes its regular season with a trip to Gaffney, S.C. Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to battle Limestone. The Bobcats are fighting for playoff seeding and could finish between fourth and sixth.
- LMC -