Haylee Johnson scored 12 of her 18 points in the first half in leading Lee University to another hard-fought GSC victory on Monday evening inside Walker Arena. The Lady Flames turned back a late surge by visiting University of West Florida in posting the 66-62 win. Lee improves to 2-0 in conference play and 3-2 overall. The Argonauts dropped to 1-1 and 4-2.
The Lady Flames jumped out to a 21-15 lead at the end of the first quarter and led 42-31 by the end of the first half. The Argos fought back to cut the margin to 56-49 by the end of three periods and finally tied the game at 61 on a 3-point shot by Bella Stone with 2:45 remaining in the contest.
As the rugged play continued, a technical foul was called on the West Florida bench with 1:43 remaining.
Mallory Hampton stepped to the free-throw line and nailed two pressure-packed charity tosses to put Lee on top 63-61.
As the action continued the Lady Flames had an opportunity to build on the lead but missed on a driving layup and an offensive rebound. A bad pass gave the basketball back to the Argonauts. Claire Sutherland-Case was fouled and awarded two free throws. She made one of the two to cut the lead to 63-62.
The two rivals battled back and forth in the final minute before Johnson was fouled. The lefty made two charity tosses to put Lee up 65-62. Baylee Delbridge hit the final Lee freebie just before time expired.
While Johnson was scoring 18 points, Hampton followed with 17 points. She was 6-of-6 from the free-throw line and Johnson was 4-of-4. Overall the Lady Flames hit 16-of-19 of the important free tosses. Anna Muhonen and Mia Hurst added eight points apiece while Keira Leffew pitched in with five points and five rebounds. Addison Smith also had five boards while Hampton and Muhonen grabbed four apiece but the taller Argos outrebounded Lee 35-30.
Brooke Kane was the West Florida leading scorer with 15 points. Stone nailed a pair of triples and totaled 11 points while Sutherland-Case also hit two threes and had 10 points. The Argos turned the basketball over 16 times while Lee committed just 11 floor mistakes.
Neither team shot the basketball well from the field. Lee made 23-of-60 shots overall (38%) and just 4-of-21 shots from beyond the arc (19%). West Florida made 20-of-53 field goal attempts (38%), 5-of-20 three balls (25%) and made 17-of-23 free throws. Each team was called for 24 fouls.
The Lady Flames will take an unusual Saturday off but will return to action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to Montevallo University for another GSC battle which is scheduled for a 3 p.m. tip.
Coach Marty Rowe’s thoughts:
“This was another tough, grind it out game in the GSC. Especially on the second game in three days you just have to find a way to win and I am proud of our team for gutting this one out.
“We will take tomorrow off and then get back to work. There is a lot of room for improvement and we’ll continue to strive for that.”