BRISTOL, Tenn. – Bonnie Durrett led the Lady Tornado in rebounds for the sixth time in the last seven games while recording her seventh double-double of the season in King's 61-44 win over rival Lees-McRae, Monday evening in the Student Center Complex. Durrett led both sides in rebounds and points, posting 14 of each, and helped the Lady Tornado rule the boards and painted area. They will play Limestone College on Thursday, Jan. 24, in their next action.
Both team struggled offensively in the opening half, combining for a total of 41 points as King took a 23-18 lead into halftime. Allison Bosse (Knoxville, Tenn.) served as the Lady Tornado's first-half spark by hitting 5-of-6 shots from the field and added a pair of free throw makes to total 12 points in the opening half. The senior scored King's last eight points and pulled down six rebounds over the final five minutes of the half.
Lees-McRae (6-7, 4-6) came out on a 8-2 rally behind a pair of threes by Lauren Lewis and took a temporary one-point lead, 26-25, inside the first two minutes of the second half. King quickly regained the lead when Durrett followed with her only three pointer on the next possession to take back the lead.
Brittany Kinser (Greeneville, Tenn.) began a 14-2 run with 13:49 to go, taking a two-point lead to 10. Sophomore Tia Keitt (Dallas, Ga.) forced a turnover and found senior Mikki Oliver (Elizabethton, Tenn.) on the other end to keep the run going before King openly displayed its dominance on the boards to extend its lead. Under the 13-minute mark, the Lady Tornado pulled down five offensive rebounds to help take nearly four minutes off the clock and finished their run with four consecutive buckets by Alley Sprouse (Newport, Tenn.). The sophomore continued King's run with a jumper from the left side and another from inside the paint to take a 41-31 lead with 8:21 to go. She scored two more baskets in the paint after two straight turnovers to build their lead to 14, 45-31.
Behind their strongest rebounding effort of the season, King rolled to a 61-44 victory over the Bobcats. They outrebounded Lees-McRae, 57-32 (+25), their largest rebound margin of the season by 10 (Mars Hill, DATE). Off their best game on the boards, the Lady Tornado outscored LMC in the paint 24-16 and on second-chance points, 16-2.
Bonnie Durrett (West Paducah, Ky.) led the team with 14 points and 14 rebounds, providing her seventh double-double of the season and her fifth in the last six games. It is also the third time in four games she has pulled down 14 rebounds. Durrett now has seven double-doubles on the year.
Junior Kelly Jackson (Lynchburg, Va.) added 10 rebounds on the night to join Durrett in double figures. Bosse was one rebound away from achieving her first double-double of the season and tied her season-high rebound total with nine against LMC.
Alley Sprouse added three more blocks to her league-leading total, totaling 33 this year. She entered the game ranked 10th in NCAA Division II in blocks per game (2.55) per the Jan. 17 NCAA statistics report. She also scored eight points on 4-of-6 shooting.
Both teams struggled shooting in the first half but King prevailed by shooting 45.5 percent from the field in the second half. Lees-McRae was held to six field goals and a 26.1 percent shooting percentage in the frame.
The Bobcats were led by Layana DeSouza's 14 points, tying Durrett for the game-high. Kerri Belcher was one rebound away from a double-double after scoring 12 points and nine rebounds. She also had five of the Bobcats' nine steals.
The win also extends King's lead in the inaugural Blue Ridge Cup standings, a battle between the Appalachian rivals. King entered the game with a 4-2 edge, but with wins by both basketball programs, they now hold a 6-2 advantage with another point on the line in Wednesday night's home men's volleyball match.
King (9-5, 5-5) now has won four of its last five games, all in conference play. They will host the Limestone Saints on Jan. 24 during Military/Veteran Appreciation Night. All active, reserve, and military veterans and their families will be granted free admission for Thursday's game. Tipoff for the women's game is set for 5:30 p.m.
Thursday also marks the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's Make-a-Wish Night. SAAC has adopted a local youth in an attempt to grant her wish to go to her favorite Disney park. Special 'support stars' and t-shirts will be sold before and during both the women's and men's basketball games to help raise money to grant 'Kellan' her wish.