Photo courtesy of Jacob Turner
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College women's basketball team tips off its 2018-19 regular season with a pair of games in the Conference Carolinas-Peach Belt Conference Challenge this weekend (Nov. 9-10), hosted by Young Harris College. Video and live stats will be available for both games at www.lmcbobcats.com.
The Bobcats will take on host Young Harris on Friday (Nov. 9) for a 7:30 tip-off, before facing No. 14 North Georgia on Saturday (Nov. 10) at 1:30 p.m.
About the Bobcats - LMC went 10-17 a year ago, including a 7-13 mark in Conference Carolinas play. LMC finished last season fourth in the league in scoring averaging 72.0 points per game, while being seventh in the league in scoring defense giving up 74.2 points per game. LMC was third in the league in rebounding (46.1) a year ago, tied for fourth in offensive rebounds per game (14.6) and third in the league in defensive rebounds per game (31.8). LMC eighth in the league from the floor at 36.5 percent was and also sixth in the league last season from long range at 31.5 percent.
The Bobcats return three key players in sophomore forward Meg Crawford, senior guard Brea Forbes and senior forward Markia Stacey. Crawford returns to the hardwood after a freshman season in which she scored 8.7 points per game and was also second on the team hauling in 5.5 boards per game. She led the team in field goal percentage, scoring 53.6 percent of the time. Crawford was also the team's shot-blocking leader with two per game. Forbes returns as the team's leading scorer a season ago, pouring in 11.3 points per game to finish the season in the top 20 in the conference. Playing and starting all 27 games, she averaged 28.2 minutes per game and shot 34.4 percent from the floor and also 27.7 percent from long range. Forbes also led the Bobcats on the glass, grabbing a team-high 6.3 rebounds per game. Her rebounding average was 15th in the league last season. Stacey returns for her senior season as the team's lone all-conference selection from last season, being selected to the all-conference third team a year ago. Stacey was the Bobcats first all-conference selection since the 2012-13 season. She was second on the team in scoring with 11.0 points per game, and also was third on the team in rebounding pulling down 4.3 boards per game. She led the conference in assists with 153 and also led in assists per game with 5.9. Her assists total notched a new program single-season record, and was also 13th individually in all of Division II. Her assist per game mark was also 10th in all of Division II.
About the Opponents - Young Harris finished last season 9-20 overall and 6-16 in the Peach Belt Conference. Young Harris finished last season 11th in the PBC in scoring offense averaging 62.2 points per game, while being 10th in the league in scoring defense giving up 69.0 points per game. The Mountain Lions were ninth in the league in rebounding pulling down 38.9 boards per game, while being ninth in rebounding offense (38.9) and 11th in rebounding defense (44.2). YHC was last in the Peach Belt in shooting last season at 34.3 percent, while also being seventh in the league in three-point shooting at 29.5 percent.
The Mountain Lions will lean on junior Ashlyn Ellison, who returns as the biggest scoring threat for the team this year. She finished last season third on the team in scoring, averaging 9.2 points per game.
North Georgia comes into the opening weekend ranked No. 14 in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Preseason Poll, after winning last year's Peach Belt Conference tournament and advancing to last year's Southeast region championship and national round of 16. UNG finished third in the Peach Belt last season in scoring offense dropping 74.4 points per game, while allowing a league-low 60.5 points per game. The Nighthawks were third in the league in rebounding grabbing 41.1 rebounds per game, fifth in the league in rebounding offense (41.1) and second in the league in rebounding defense allowing 37.5 boards per game. North Georgia led the league in shooting a season ago, shooting 45.2 percent from the floor and they also shot 34.0 percent from beyond the arc which was second in the PBC.
The Nighthawks welcome back three of their top four scorers from last season, including seniors Amber Skidgel and Vanessa Agrusa who were both all-conference selections a season ago. Last year's Peach Belt Conference Freshman of the Year Abbie Franklin is also back for North Georgia.
Series History vs. Opponents - This will be the sixth all-time meeting between LMC and Young Harris, with Young Harris leading the all-time series 4-1.
This will be the first-ever meeting between LMC and North Georgia.