Second-half Surge Lifts Lady Tornado to Victory
BELMONT, N.C. – After trailing for the first 30 minutes of the game, King made a late push by attacking the inside of the Belmont Abbey defense and walked away from the Wheeler Center winners of a 51-48 decision. Bonnie Durrett turned in her ninth double-double of the year behind 12 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Lady Tornado toward their 11th win of the season.
King trailed by as many as nine points in the first half and continually chipped away at the Crusader's lead after the start of the second half. Down five points, 36-31, with 14:55 remaining in the game, Kelly Jackson (Lynchburg, Va.) made the first push toward securing the lead permanently with a mid-range jumper followed by sophomore Tia Keitt's three ball to tie the game at 36 as the game closed in on the 13-minute mark. Both teams traded buckets to exchange the lead four times over a five-minute span of time but once King began attacked the Crusader's interior defense the lead became the Lady Tornado's for good.
Bonnie Durrett (West Paducah, Ky.) and Kelly Jackson hit back-to-back layups before both teams stood tied at 44 and went scoreless for the next two minutes of the game. With 5:36 to go, freshman Stephanie Brantley (Pilot Mountain, Tenn.) hit the go-ahead layup and then followed by cashing in on a Belmont Abbey turnover with her second three-point make of the game to put King up 49-44.
The Lady Tornado extended its lead with another layup, this time by sophomore center Alley Sprouse (Newport, Tenn.), giving them their largest lead of the game at 51-44.
Belmont Abbey made it interesting in the final two minutes with a miniature 4-0 run to cut the lead to three points and causing a turnover with three seconds remaining. After calling a pair of timeouts, the Crusaders set up their last-ditch effort to tie the game bu Morgan Midkiff's desperation three pointer missed the mark to give King the 51-48 win.
Durrett dis most of her damage in the first half when she scored 10 points and recorded seven rebounds in the opening 20 minutes. She finished with the team lead in both categories, tallying 12 points and 11 boards for her ninth double-double of the season.
Kelly Jackson served as the second Lady Tornado player to hit double figures in scoring, finishing with 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
Other notable performances include Alley Sprouse's nine rebounds and Stephanie Brantley's eight points. The freshman went 2-for-3 from long distance.
King won the battle of the boards, outrebounding Belmont Abbey 39-30 on the day. They also earned 22 of their 51 points in the paint, outscoring BAC by 10 in that category.
The Crusader's Morgan Midkiff led all scorers with 16 points. No other BAC player recorded more than nine points on the night. Belmont Abbey ended the night shooting only 33.9 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from distance.
After winning its second straight game, King (11-9, 7-9) will continue its stint on the road against conference rival Lees-McRae College on Wednesday, Feb. 13. Tipoff for the game is set for 5:30 p.m. The meeting continues the inaugural Battle for the Blue Ridge Cup, a competition between the two schools that currently favors King by a 7-2 margin.