BANNER ELK, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College women's basketball team saw a late lead erased in a 77-72 loss to the University of Mount Olive on Thursday night (Jan. 10) at Williams Gymnasium.
Game Summary - Mount Olive controlled the first quarter early, jumping out to a 17-4 lead over the first five minutes and change. The Bobcats went on an 8-2 run over the final 4:10 to cut the deficit to just seven after one quarter, beginning with a layup from Meg Crawford. Crawford would knock down a jumper a minute later, before Brea Forbes hit a mid-range shot just before the two-minute mark. Felicity Havens and Forbes would trade buckets in the final minute and a half to end the first.
Lees-McRae would respond with a strong second quarter, winning the frame 24-15 to take a 36-34 lead to the half. A 7-0 run for the Bobcats over the first two minutes of the quarter tied the game at 19, before the teams would trade buckets approaching the halfway point of the frame. The two teams went into the final three minutes of the half tied at 27, before a layup from Markia Stacey and a triple from Breanna Hardnett put the Bobcats up by five with two and a half minutes to play in the half. Mount Olive would knot the game up at 34 in the final minute of the half, before Jordan Soares would hit a jumper with 28 seconds left to serve as the final bucket of the half.
Lees-McRae would use a convincing third quarter which they won 20-14 to take an eight-point lead to the final 10 minutes. A jumper from Forbes and a triple from Destiny Johnson opened the quarter to put the Bobcats up by seven, forcing a quick Mount Olive timeout. Out of the stoppage, Crawford extended the lead to nine with two points before the Trojans would finally calm the run with a bucket from Jada Bacchus. The lead would fluctuate for about two minutes, before Johnson would drain another long ball to give the Bobcats their largest lead of the game with 5:20 to play in the quarter. Lees-McRae's lead fluctuated between seven and 10 points for the final few minutes of the quarter, leaving the Bobcats ahead 56-48 headed to the fourth.
Mount Olive used a strong fourth quarter effort to complete the comeback, winning the frame 29-16. The lead was trimmed down to five in the first two minutes of the quarter, but the two teams would enter a cold spell that left the score 61-53 for about two minutes. Havens would knock down two free throws to trim the lead back down to six, before an old-fashioned three-point play from Bacchus got the Trojans back within three with six minutes to play in the game. Forbes and Bacchus would trade buckets to leave Lees-McRae up by three with four minutes to play. With under three and a half minutes to play, Forbes would trade a jumper with a three-pointer from Makayla Nichols before Crawford and Bacchus would trade layups. Kennedi Jones would tie the game at 67 with two minutes to play, before Azariah Fields and Crawford would trade jumpers. Bacchus would go on a solo five-point run in the final minute to help the Trojans pull away, before they iced the game at the free throw line.
Stats Rundown - The Bobcats shot a season-best 50.8 percent (32-63) from the field, 33.3 percent (6-18) from long range and 50.0 percent (2-4) from the foul line. Crawford paced the scoring effort with a team-high 21 points, while Forbes notched her fourth straight double-figure scoring night with 14 and Johnson also added 12. Lees-McRae totaled 32 rebounds on the evening, with10 on the offensive glass and 22 on the defensive glass. Alexis Ammons led the rebounding effort on the night for Lees-McRae with five. Stacey dished out a game and career-high 14 assists on the night, notching the first double-digit assist game for a Bobcat since she totaled 11 back on Feb. 10, 2018 against North Greenville.
Up Next - The Bobcats (7-8, 4-4 Conference Carolinas) look to defend the den again on Saturday (Jan. 12) against Emmanuel (Ga.) for a 2 p.m. tip-off. It is YMCA Day on Saturday, so any kids wearing their YMCA jerseys will be admitted free and also receive a free t-shirt.