Balanced attack leads King to win at Mount Olive

Photo taken by Rachel Burrus.
Photo taken by Rachel Burrus.

MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – Following their first loss in eight games, the King University women's basketball team put together a solid performance at the University of Mount Olive on Wednesday night. The Tornado used their balanced attack to grab control of the game early en route to the 67-57 Conference Carolinas win.

The Trojans (7-5, 2-2 CC) scored the game's first four points before King came storming back. Tia Keitt got the Tornado (9-3, 3-1 CC) on the board with a layup before Chelsea Bowling gave King the lead with a triple at 5-4.

With the score tied at six, King began to gain separation as Sydney Harris ignited an 11-0 run with a layup. Bowling connected on another triple and Stephanie Brantley followed with a jumper before Alley Sprouse capped the spurt that gave King a 17-6 lead with a layup halfway through the first stanza.

The Tornado again held an 11 point lead at 22-11 before the Trojans went on a run to get back into the game. Mount Olive scored seven consecutive points over the next five minutes to cut their deficit to 22-18. After Bonnie Durrett ended King's drought, Katie Paschal connected on a three-point shot to cut the Trojan deficit to just three points.

However, King answered with a 6-0 run, capped by four points from Sprouse. The Tornado held an eight point advantaged until Joneiqua Gary nailed a three-point basket with 27 seconds left to make the halftime score 31-26 in favor of the Tornado.

Mount Olive scored the first bucket of the second half before Bowling made a layup and Brantley connected on a three-point basket to extend King's lead. Jalan Harper made it a 7-0 run, and gave King a 38-28 lead with a fastbreak layup three minutes into the frame. Following a Mount Olive timeout, Harper drilled a triple and Brittany Stringer's layup capped a 12-0 run that gave the Tornado a 43-28 lead with 15 minutes remaining.

King held their lead around 10 points for the next nine minutes until Mount Olive got back-to-back buckets from Jasmine McDonald and Gary to cut their deficit to 53-47 with less than seven minutes remaining. However, King had an answer as Harris made a free throw and drilled a three-point basket before Sprouse converted a layup to stretch the lead back to 12 points. Harris capped the 9-0 run with an old fashioned three-point play to give King a 62-47 advantage with 3:33 remaining.

From that point on King held on to their lead, not letting the Trojans getting any closer than 10 points the rest of the way as the Tornado took the 67-57 road win. King shot 39.3 percent from the field, and 30.0 percent from three in the win while holding the Trojans to 32.9 and 22.2 percent.

For the third time this season, the Tornado had four scorers in double figures, led by Harris' 14 points. Bowling followed with 13 points, 10 coming in the first half while Sprouse and Harper chipped with 10 each. Sprouse also grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds for her first double-double of the season and sixth of her career.

McDonald led the Trojans with 17 points, and Paschal followed with 16.

King will return home on Saturday when they host Barton College at 5:30 p.m., in the Student Center Complex.

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