BANNER ELK, N.C. --- Sophomore Mackenzie Blankenship tallied her fourth 20-point effort and senior Tayler Collins added 16, but the Lees-McRae women's basketball suffered a 78-70 setback to King (Tenn.) in Conference Carolinas play Tuesday evening in Williams Gymnasium.
The Tornado (17-10, 16-5 CC) used an impressive 29 points from Whitney Mitchell while the team scored 35 in the fourth quarter. The Bobcats (8-20, 7-14) held a +9 advantage in rebounds while Brea Forbes (Freeport, Bahamas) turned in a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Collins (Fayetteville, N.C.) played her final home game of her career.
Blankenship (Johnson City, Tenn.) has scored in double figures in four consecutive games.
Blankenship and Forbes scored 15 of LMC's 18 points in the first quarter. The duo connected on back-to-back triples to stake the home squad to a 6-2 lead early.
Freshman Alexis Ammons (Asheville, N.C.) scored a layup before a pair of free throws from Blankenship gave LMC an 18-15 advantage after one.
Freshman Breana Hardnett (Greensboro, N.C.) scored seven points in the second while Collins chipped in with six of her own. A Collins jumper with 2:56 remaining put the Bobcats up 36-23.
Both teams exchanged threes in the final minute while coach Michele Williams' squad took a 39-28 lead into the half.
King opened the third with a quick 4-0 run, but LMC responded with a 7-0 counter, capped off by an Ammons layup.
Hardnett connected on another three before Ammons scored once more, 55-43, after three.
The Tornado's Jalan Harper knocked down a pair of threes before Whitney Mitchell sank two from the charity stripe to cut the deficit to six, 57-51.
Mitchell scored seven straight while King took a 70-67 lead.
Blankenship splashed a three with 48 ticks on the clock, 73-70, but the Tornado sank five free throws in the final 36 seconds to earn the win.
Freshman Markia Stacey (Morganton, N.C.) dished out a game-high 11 assists.
LMC concludes regular season play at North Greenville Friday, Feb. 26 at 5:30 p.m. in Tigerville, S.C.
The Bobcats can earn as high as the No. 6 seed in the upcoming Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Tournament.