BRISTOL, Tenn. – Despite 21 points from sophomore guard Markia Stacey, the Lees-McRae College women's basketball team fell in its season opener to Mars Hill, 71-70, in Bristol, Tenn. Friday evening.
Neither team seemed on point offensively in the opening quarter as neither team shot above 32 percent. The Bobcats, however, connected on a trio of shots from long range to stake themselves to a 14-13 lead after the first. Breanna Hardnett paced LMC with a pair of triples in the first frame.
Mars Hill rallied to take the lead back in the second quarter behind the play of Paige Chavis and Aliyah Farmer. The duo for the Lions combined to score 24 of the team's 33 points in the first half to help their team take a 33-31 heading to the locker room.
The Lions kept pushing the tempo in the third quarter scoring 20 points compared to 14 for Lees-McRae to open a 53-45 lead. LMC's main offensive weapon in the third was Alexis Ammons who scored six points of her 15 points in the stanza.
Heading into the fourth and final quarter, the Bobcats needed a rally and rally they did as they scored eight of the first 10 points in the quarter to get within two of Mars Hill, 55-53. Lees-McRae continued to pressure the Lions and eventually took the lead with just under six minutes to play on a layup from Stacey to make it 58-57.
Both teams battled over the final six minutes of play and both had times when they held the lead. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, Mars Hill connected on a three-pointer with just over a minute remaining to make it 71-68. Jordan Soares got the Bobcats within one, 71-70, with 37 seconds thanks to a pair of free throws, but that was as close as LMC got as the Lions held on for the one-point win.
The Bobcats will return to the court Saturday afternoon as they take on Tusculum at 4 p.m. The Pioneers dropped a 86-63 decision to King (Tenn.) Friday evening.