WILSON, N.C. - The sixth-seeded Lees-McRae College women's basketball team led by as many as 10 points Monday night at third-seeded Barton College in the opening round of the Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Tournament, but it was the Bulldogs who came out victorious with a strong second half performance, 85-75. The loss concludes the 2017-18 season for Lees-McRae with a record of 10-17.
Neither team had much luck in the opening half of Monday's contest offensively. The Bobcats used a combination of rebounding and points in the paint to power most of their offense. Lees-McRae finished the first 20 minutes with 11 offensive rebounds and 16 points in the painted area. Those two factors helped LMC lead Barton by as many as eight in the second quarter before settling for a five-point advantage (31-26) at the break.
Facing a five-point deficit at the break, the Bulldogs came out with a resounding answer for the Bobcats in the third quarter. Barton outscored LMC 30-20 in the frame and followed that by edging the Lees-McRae 29-24 in the final frame to pull in front for good, 85-75.
Breana Hardnett led LMC in scoring Monday with 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field. Setting up Hardnett and the rest of the Bobcat offense was Markia Stacey. Stacey dished out four assists and scored 17 points of her own. With those four assists, Stacey breaks the single-season program record for assists with 153. Rounding out the stat leaders for the Bobcats Monday was Meg Crawford who grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds, while scoring eight points on the night.
The Bobcats will return nearly their entire team for next season. The lone senior that will graduate from this squad will be Caitlin Brown.