PEMBROKE, N.C. – The Lander women's basketball team used 24 points from Chelsea Mitchell and career-high five three-pointers from Christal Williams to topple UNC Pembroke, 83-69, on Tuesday night in a Peach Belt Conference contest.
The Bearcats (15-5, 10-4 PBC) led by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter, thanks to 46.2 percent shooting and a defense that forced 24 Brave turnovers. UNCP (7-11, 5-9 PBC) surrendered 26 points off turnovers and scored just nine points in the second quarter.
Mitchell led all scorers with 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Williams netted a career-high 22 points. Jessica Harris posted her second straight double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Breshay Johnson scored seven points, pulling her within 56 points of tying Shannon McKever for the school's all-time scoring record. After struggling from the free-throw line on Saturday, the Bearcats converted 15-of-20 opportunities from the charity stripe against UNCP.
A pair of early threes from Williams gave the Bearcats a 10-9 lead as Lander used a 17-3 run in the first quarter to build a 27-17 advantage at the end of the period. The Bearcat defense clamped down in the second quarter, holding UNC Pembroke scoreless for nearly three minutes midway through the period. Lander turned 16 turnovers from the Braves into 14 points in the first half and two Mitchell free throws and a three-pointer from Ariana Sanders in the final two minutes put the Bearcats up 45-26 at halftime.
UNC Pembroke netted 12 of the first 16 points in the second half before a bucket from Johnson quieted the Braves crowd. Johnson then followed with a three-point play to push the Bearcat lead out to 54-38 with 5:10 to go in the third quarter. Williams knocked down her fifth three-pointer of the night after a defensive stop and Harris added a three of her own to cap an 11-3 Bearcat run. Harris' midrange jumper in the waning seconds of the period gave Lander a 66-46 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Lander travels to Flagler for a 1:30 p.m. tipoff on Saturday.