BANNER ELK, N.C. – King trailed Lees-McRae 66-56 with 8:44 left in the second half before storming back to end the game on an 18-3 run to defeat Lees McRae, 74-69. Freshman Stephanie Brantley (Pilot Mountain, N.C.) scored five of the last six points for the Lady Tornado at the line in the final 1:43. With their third straight win, the Lady Tornado improved to 12-9 (8-9 Conference Carolinas) for the season.
After senior Mikki Oliver (Elizabethton, Tenn.) made a jumper to cut the deficit to one for King with 3:33 left, Brantley had a chance to tie or take the lead at the line with 1:43 to go. Brantley made the first to tie the game at 69 but missed the second to give Lees-McRae a chance to retake the lead. However, Layana De Souza missed a three and senior Allison Bosse (Knoxville, Tenn.) got the all-important rebound for the Lady Tornado and was fouled with 1:13 left. Bosse missed the first but made the second to give King a 70-69 lead.
With one minute left, Kerri Belcher missed a layup for the Bobcats and Bosse obtained another big rebound. Bosse missed a jumper with 49 seconds left though to give Lees-McRae another chance. De Souza turned it over with 36 seconds left back to the Lady Tornado.
Brantley was fouled with 29 seconds to go and drained two clutch free throws to make it 72-69, King. Lees-McRae then took it back down the court looking to tie the game. Sophomore Tia Keitt (Dallas, Ga.) played great perimeter defense and blocked Lauren Lewis' three-point attempt with 13 seconds to go. The Bobcats got it back after the block, but Alyssa Munson turned it over after obtaining the offensive rebound.
The Bobcats then had to foul Brantley again, this time with five seconds left. Brantley nailed both free throws to clinch the game to give the Lady Tornado a regular season sweep over Lees-McRae. King also defeated the Bobcats at home on January 21, 61-44.
Brantley led King with 15 points, which included going 6-for-7 at the line. Sophomore Chelsea Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) scored 11 points, while sophomore Alley Sprouse (Newport, Tenn.) added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Brooke Johnson (Roan Mountain, Tenn.) and sophomore Bonnie Durrett (West Paducah, Ky.) each scored 9 points. Durrett went 3-for-4 from beyond the arc to account for half of King's made three-pointers.
De Souza and Lauren Lewis each scored 16 points to lead the Bobcats. With the loss, Lees-McRae fell to 8-12 (6-11) for the season.
King led 43-40 at the break, but Lees-McRae went on an 8-2 run to take the momentum to start the second half. Lees-McRae's biggest lead of 10 at 66-56 was the only time during the entire game when either team led by double figures in the closely-fought contest.
The Lady Tornado will return to the Student Center on Saturday, February 16 against Mount Olive as part of a doubleheader with the men's team with tip-off scheduled for 2:00 p.m.