GREENEVILLE, TENN.- A quartet of Mars Hill women's basketball players finished in double figures as the Lions earned their first win of the season with a 73-58 win over Lees-McRae in the SAC/Conference Carolinas Challenge on Saturday in Pioneer Arena. Mars Hill improves to 1-1 while Lees-McRae falls to 0-2.
Paige Chavis led Mars Hill with 20 points, followed by Genice Lane with 16 points, Cadence Wilmoth with 13 points and Kelsey Espinosa with 10 points. All four players were in the MHU starting lineup. Espinosa posted a double-double as she finished with 10 rebounds. Sydney Comer had five assists while Lane had five steals.
Alexis Ammons scored 14 points off the bench to lead Lees-McRae. Mackenzie Blankenship had 12 points, followed by Markia Stacey with 11 points. Caitlin Brown pulled down 11 rebounds.
The first period featured four lead changes and five ties. After a scoreless first minute, Wilmoth scored the first two points of the contest with a layup at the 8:38 mark. Lees-McRae held an 11-6 lead until a Chavis three-pointer and layup tied the contest at 11 with 2:11 to go in the opening stanza. Lane gave the Lions a 16-15 lead after the first 10 minutes thanks to a 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining in the period.
The teams would trade free throws until a Stacey layup followed by a Blankenship jumper gave the Bobcats a 21-18 lead. Brittany Dixon would tie the game at 21 thanks to a 3-pointer at the 5:13 mark. Mars Hill held a 29-25 lead following a Wilmoth layup with 50 seconds to go in the half, but Lees-McRae would take a 30-29 lead into halftime following a Brown jumper just before the horn.
Lees-McRae would enjoy a 34-29 lead before the Lions went on a 10-0 run capped by an Espinosa jumper with 7:09 to play in the quarter for a 39-34 lead. Following a Dixon 3-pointer that gave MHU a 46-38 lead with 5:26 to go, Lees-McRae would use a 9-3 run to cut the Lion lead to 49-47 heading into the final quarter.
Chavis scored 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Lions outscored the Bobcats 24-11 to put the game away. A 13-2 Mars Hill run gave the Lions a 62-49 lead with 5:25 to play. The Lions would lead by no fewer than nine points the rest of the way.
Mars Hill travels to Livingstone on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. start.