BANNER ELK, N.C. – Following a postponement on Saturday, the King University women's basketball team travelled to Lees-McRae College on Monday evening. The Tornado jumped ahead early, but the Bobcats came storming back and ultimately took the game 69-64.
King (11-6, 5-4 CC) started the game on a roll as Tia Keitt and Stephanie Brantley connected on back-to-back buckets to start the game. Sydney Harris followed with a hoop before Whitney Mitchell drained a three-point basket to give King a 9-3 lead five minutes in. The Tornado lead grew to 14-4 following a Jalan Harper layup with more than 13 minutes left, and Keitt gave King a 16-5 advantage when she made a layup with 12:25 remaining.
However, the Bobcats (9-9, 6-3 CC) started to make a comeback at that point. Lees-McRae cut the deficit to seven points twice, but Harris extended the lead back to 20-11 with just under seven minutes remaining. Trailing 23-15, Niroska Perez connected from long range to spark the Bobcat offense. The 10-0 run that gave Lees-McRae a 25-23 lead was capped with a Lauren Lewis triple. Kelly Jackson answered with a triple of her own to give the lead back to King. However, Icey Patterson made a jumper with four seconds left in the half to give Lees-McRae a 27-26 halftime lead.
The Bobcat offense didn't slow down in the second half, scoring the half's first 11 points to force a Tornado timeout. Bonnie Durrett finally ended the spurt with an old fashioned three-point play to cut the Tornado deficit to 38-29 more than three minutes into the half. However, the Bobcats quickly scored six straight points to stretch their lead to 15 points
The King deficit grew to as many as 19 points at 54-35 with 9:22 remaining before Harris tried to spark the offense with back-to-back three-point baskets. Jalan Harper followed with a layup before Mitchell got a steal and a layup to make the score 56-45 with less than eight minutes to go. However, the Bobcats stretched the lead back to 17 points before the Tornado made another run.
Alley Sprouse started the 11-0 run with a jumper, and Harper followed with a triple. Chelsea Bowling made a layup before Harper cut the deficit to 62-56 with 1:33 remaining with a free throw. Durrett, got the Tornado within four with 22 seconds remaining, but King couldn't get any closer as Lees-McRae held on for the 69-64 win.
Harris led King with 16 points while Durrett and Harper followed with 10 points apiece. Harper also snared a team-high nine rebounds.
King is scheduled to host North Greenville University on Wednesday night at the Student Center Complex. Tipoff is slated for 5:30 p.m.