Tharpe scores 16, but Lady Tornado comes up short at MHC

MARS HILL, N.C. - King College suffered a 62-52 defeat Thursday at Mars Hill (N.C.) College with a pair of Lady Tornado players scoring in double-digits.

Jessica Tharpe (Sevierville, Tenn.) notched her third double-digit game of the season with 16 points. She was 5-for-15 from the field and 4-for-8 behind the three-point line. The four made 3-pointers ranks as the second most by a Lady Tornado this season, behind her five at Limestone (S.C.) College in November. In the opening half she had 11 points. Tharpe finished with five rebounds and three steals.

Derika Mooney (Athens, Tenn.) added a dozen points with three assists, four rebounds and five steals.

Mars Hill got a team-best 15 points from Tyler Carlson, going 6-for-15 from the floor with a three pointer. Taylor Deal had eight points, but added a dozen rebounds. Brittini Young chipped in 14 points with 10 from Margaret Harvey.

Ashley Deans (Greeneville, Tenn.) put King up 7-6 2:31 into the contest, but the home team scored eight straight to turn the score around to 14-7 just two minutes later. The Lady Lions' scoring spurt was capped by a three pointer from Young.

In the first moments, the lead changed hands five times before King, now at 2-11 on the season, had the 7-6 lead.

King went four minutes between baskets which occurred during Mars Hill's run. Tharpe ended the drought with 13:28 left in the half with a three which made the score 14-10. The last Lady Tornado field goal before Tharpe's was a three pointer from Brooke Johnson (Roan Mountain, Tenn.) earlier as King took a 5-4 lead at that point.

Mars Hill, with a 6-2 record after the game, pushed the margin out to six, 16-10, after a layup from Young on a fastbreak after a King turnover with 11:11 showing on the clock. The next score was from King's Jana Gross (Dayton, Ohio) shortly before the media timeout at the midpoint of the half.

Tharpe knocked down another three to get King within three, 18-15, with 6:45 before the halftime break. However Young answered on Mars Hill's next trip down the floor with a three of her own. After a miss on the front end of a one and one by Mooney, Mars Hill converted on the other end with a Carlson basket in the paint for an eight-point margin, the largest of the half.

Once again Tharpe provided a spark with a three from the left corner and Mooney stole the ball then laid in two points to make the score 23-20 with 4:35 left in the half.

Just as quickly as King rallied, Deal had a jumper to make it a five-point game again.

Johnson made good on two free throws with 1:55 left as the score was 25-22. Mooney had a layup, but in between were three pointers from Young and Carlson to make the halftime score 31-24.

Mars Hill scored the first 10 points of the second half to extend the lead. Mooney scored first for King in the half with a fastbreak layup 5:49 into the second half. Another fastbreak layup came from Deans after a turnover to make the difference 13 points, 41-28.

The home team pushed the margin back to 17 before another King run made it 13 points with 12:06 to go as the score was 46-33. On Mars Hill's next possession Kristen Metcalf knocked down a three after a Lady Lion offensive rebound from Carlson on her own miss.

Mars Hill made it a 17-point game later on, but King rallied and got within 12, 54-42 after Brittany Kinser's (Greeneville, Tenn.) jumper with 7:25 to go. Mars Hill reeled off seven straight points to turn momentum again.

After a technical foul was called on Mars Hill's bench, Tharpe hit two free throws and Mooney added two more after a foul with 1:43 showing to bring King with 13, 61-48. To answer a Mars Hill free throw from Narcissa Grayson, Tharpe drained a three with 85 seconds to go. Brianna Kelley (Greeneville, Tenn.) used a free throw to bring King within 10 in the final seconds.

The Lady Tornado finished the game 17-for-57 (29.8 percent) while Mars Hill went 25-for-68 (36.8 percent). Mars Hill had one more three pointer, 6-5, after both teams had four apiece in the opening 20 minutes. At the free throw line King was 13-for-22 (59.1 percent) and the home team 6-for-10 (60.0 percent).

King had 27 turnovers, the second most this season, but the Lady Tornado forced 26 a season high for the defensive unit.

Kalen Collins (Wise, Va.) pulled in seven rebounds for King.

The first time King and Mars Hill met this season, the Lady Lions won an 84-75 contest inside the Student Center in Bristol on Nov. 13.

King closes out the 2010 portion of the schedule Saturday at Wingate (N.C.) University with tip off at 2 p.m.