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Lander rolls to 30-point win in home opener behind McKenith, Harris

Lander rolls to 30-point win in home opener behind McKenith, Harris

GREENWOOD – The Lander women's basketball team used 19 first-half points from Mylea McKenith and a double-double from Jessica Harris as the Bearcats cruised past North Greenville University 92-62 Wednesday night in their 2018-19 home opener at Horne Arena.

Lander improved to 2-1 on the season while the Crusaders fell to 1-2. The Bearcats have won six consecutive home openers.

"We started slow," said head coach Kevin Pederson, "and when you start slow, it's hard to get into your press. Once we got going offensively, we were able to set the pace. We're still trying to figure out our best lineup and rotations. Jessica had a great night and it was good to see Mylea play the way she did coming off the injury [from last season]."

Lander is 65-22 over the past six seasons at Horne Arena and has won 10 consecutive home games against non-conference opponents since 2015. The Bearcats now have a 7-4 all-time series lead against North Greenville.

McKenith scored nine points in the first quarter and 10 more in the second as Lander built a 33-point halftime lead. The senior guard made seven of 12 shots from the floor, including three of five from 3-point range while adding five assists.

Harris added 18 points and 10 rebounds for Lander. The junior guard scored nine of her 12 points from the free-throw line.

Symone Starks added 14 points for the Bearcats while Ariana Sanders contributed 12 points while sharing team-high honors with five assists.

Journey Muhammed led the Crusaders with 11 points while Kira Bell paced the visitors with seven rebounds.

Bell's layup with 4:19 left in the opening quarter pulled North Greenville within 12-8. But the Crusaders would not score another field goal for almost eight minutes, with Tyana Saunders making a layup with 6:39 left in the second period to cut Lander's already overwhelming lead to 39-17. During the nearly eight-minute stretch, North Greenville was 0-for-7 from the floor, committed seven turnovers and was outscored 27-7.

Those eight minutes were a microcosm of the first half, dominated by the Bearcats. Lander scored the game's first eight points and was up 25-10 after one quarter behind McKenith's nine points.

Harris's driving layup one minute into the second period off a Starks steal increased the Bearcat lead to 32-10. McKenith's third 3-pointer of the first half gave Lander's its first 25-point advantage at 48-23 with 2:35 until halftime.

Sanders hit an arcing, fade-away 3 as the shot clock was expiring, giving the Bearcats a 58-25 lead with 44 seconds left. That would be the halftime score.

Sarah Crews and Michelle Wright each hit 3s late in the third quarter, helping Lander build a 72-41 advantage going into the final period. North Greenville outscored the Bearcats 16-14 in the third.

Sanders made a pair of layups, Wright banked in a 3, and Sanders scored again on a driving layup off Miriam Recarte's steal as Lander extended its lead to 87-53 with 3:24 left. Quin'De'Ja Hamilton scored the final five Bearcat points on a 3 and a layup.