GREENWOOD – The Lander women's basketball team got a career-high 16 points from freshman Miriam Recarte and took control of the Peach Belt Conference race with an 85-61 victory over Flagler in front of 1,201 fans during Homecoming Saturday afternoon at Horne Arena.
The first-place Bearcats (17-5, 14-2) earned their eighth consecutive victory and have won 13 of their last 14 games.
"We went a 14-0 run to end the first half," said head coach Kevin Pederson, "and our two freshmen, Miriam and Sarah Crews were leading us in scoring. When that's happening, that's a good sign. Mylea McKenith went to the bench with foul trouble, Sarah came in and boy, did she play well."
Lander avenged its last loss, dropping Flagler to 15-6, 11-4. The Saints entered the day in a second-place tie with North Georgia in the Peach Belt. Flagler had beaten the Bearcats 90-75 in St Augustine, Fla., on. Jan. 12.
Lander outscored the visitors 52-29 over the last 25 minutes of Saturday's game (lead growing from 33-32 to the final of 85-61) and now owns a 17-4 all-time record against Flagler.
The 1,201 was the ninth largest attendance in program history.
Symone Starks, who missed the last game due to injury, came back strong for the Bearcats Saturday with a game-high 22 points while adding seven rebounds. Starks hit five three-pointers.
Jessica Harris filled the stat sheet for Lander with 20 points, a game-high nine assists, six rebounds and three steals. Harris has scored in double figures in 14 consecutive games for the Bearcats.
Recarte bested her previous career-high of 15 points set Nov. 9 versus Lenoir-Rhyne. Recarte made four three-points while adding three blocked shots and three assists.
Kierra Crane paced the Saints with 13 points while 6-foot-5 center Tabitha Odabe added a double-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots. Chris Wilson also scored 12 for Flagler while Ivana Boyd added 11.
Recarte scored five unanswered points with a three-pointer and a pair of free throws, giving Lander an 18-14 lead late in the first quarter. The Bearcats had a 20-19 advantage going into the second period.
Flagler's Crane hit a three to tie the game at 22 early in the second. Lander moved back in front as Recarte made two more threes and Harris added one for a 33-28 lead.
Odabe's layup pulled the Saints within 33-32 just inside the five-minute mark. But Lander closed the half with a 14-0 run to lead 47-32 at the break. Crews sparked the run with a three, another basket and two free throws.
The Bearcats stayed hot behind the arc to build on their lead in the third. Starks hit a pair of treys while Harris and Recarte added one apiece, giving Lander a 63-41 advantage with 4:24 to go.
Harris's three from the left side beat the buzzer as the Bearcats were up 66-47 going into the fourth.
Starks hit an open three from the right side for a 27-point lead, 78-51, at the five-minute mark. She hit another trey for an 81-57 advantage with just under three minutes to go.