The Lees-McRae College women's basketball team closed out the Conference Carolinas regular season in style on Friday, defeating Converse College to clinch the fifth seed in the West Division and a spot in the
conference tournament for the second year in a row. Lees-McRae (9-15, 5-13 CC) finished the regular season strong, winning three of its last five games to earn a quarterfinal matchup with West Division and overall regular season champion Limestone College on Monday night in the Conference Carolinas Tournament. The Bobcats held on for a 72-67 win over Converse on Friday, as Paige Whitaker (Harrisburg, N.C.) poured in a game-high 22 points and Icey Patterson (Seneca, S.C.) added six assists and six steals.
Whitaker, Patterson, and freshman DeAnna Waters (Upper Marlboro, Md.) have led the way for the Bobcats over the last 10 games, combining for nearly 40 points per contest as Patterson has averaged just under four assists and four steals in that span. Waters has come on strong during the last 10 games, nearly averaging a double-double with 12.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest.
Patterson and Whitaker are each in the midst of career seasons at Lees-McRae, as Patterson has recorded 88 steals thus far, posting the third-highest campaign total in program history while moving into eighth on the school's all-time list with 160 career thefts. Whitaker has been a tremendous part of the Bobcats' success this season, averaging 12.3 points per game while knocking down 67 three-pointers, posting the program's third-highest campaign total.
The Bobcats enter tonight's matchup with top-seeded Limestone with high hopes after playing with the Saints in the teams' second tilt of the regular season, as Limestone edged Lees-McRae by a 63-56 margin in Williams Gymnasium on February 6. With its strong play of late, Lees-McRae looks primed to make a run in the conference tournament as the Bobcats embark on their second consecutive journey into college basketball's second season.
Lees-McRae and Limestone will tip off at 7 p.m. in the quarterfinal round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament on Monday evening in Gaffney, S.C., with a berth in the semifinal round hanging in the balance.
Photo Courtesy: Icey Patterson, LMC Athletics