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L-R women fall short in home opener, lose to unbeaten Catawba

L-R women fall short in home opener, lose to unbeaten Catawba

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Hanna McClung

Lenoir-Rhyne's Hanna McClung (2) goes to the basket against UNC Pembroke's Tiara Williams (23) in this file photo from last season.

The Lenoir-Rhyne women’s basketball team was finally able to host its first game of the 2020-21 season, welcoming Catawba to Shuford Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon for a matchup of South Atlantic Conference squads. The Bears went toe-to-toe with the Indians and even held leads after the second and third quarters, but ultimately fell by a 60-55 final.

The Bears’ Hanna McClung led all scorers with 16 points while also pulling down five rebounds. Emily Harman added 13 points, a team-high seven boards and a game-high four steals, with Freedom High alumnus Blaikley Crooks representing L-R’s third double-digit scorer with 10 points.

Catawba put four players in double figures, led by 14 points from Emily Phillips and 12 from Taisha DeShazo. Marissa Bruce contributed 10 points and eight rebounds, while Lyrik Thorne also scored 10 points for the Indians.

L-R (0-4, 0-4 SAC) held a slight advantage in rebounding at 34-31 and last led 48-47 with 7:03 remaining in the fourth quarter before Catawba’s late rally. The teams combined for 38 turnovers — 20 by the Bears — while the Indians outscored the hosts 20-18 in bench points, 22-14 in points in the paint and 10-5 in second-chance points.

Catawba (4-0, 4-0) carried a 17-14 advantage into the second quarter, but L-R led 27-24 at the half. The Bears were up 44-42 entering the final period before being outscored 18-11 down the stretch.

L-R will remain at home for its next two contests, hosting Tusculum on Wednesday at 4 p.m. before entertaining Lincoln Memorial next Saturday at 2 p.m. Meanwhile, Catawba travels to Queens on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. before hosting Tusculum next Saturday at 2 p.m.

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