BRISTOL, Tenn. – The King University women's basketball team couldn't have gotten their season off to a better start on Friday night as they topped Mars Hill University 74-58 in the Student Center Complex. Freshman Arnelle Collins led the Tornado offense with 16 points in her first career game while Bonnie Durrett posted a double-double to start the season.
Collins and Durrett got the Tornado off to a quick start as Collins got a steal and turned it into a fastbreak layup to put King (1-0) ahead. Durrett followed with a jumper in the paint, and Collins stretched the lead to 6-0 with another layup two minutes in. Whitney Mitchell stretched the King lead to 13-3 eight minutes in with a steal and layup before Mars Hill (0-1) started to work their way back.
The Lions scored seven straight points to pull within three before Alley Sprouse got the Tornado back on the board with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. Paige Chavis then cut the Lion deficit to one following a 6-2 run with a layup that made the score 17-16 with eight minutes left.
However, King answered with a 14-0 run to take a commanding 31-16 lead with five minutes left in the half. Durrett scored five points on the run while Brittany Stringer connected on one of her two three-point baskets on the run that gave King some breathing room. The lead grew to as many as 17 at 34-17 following Chelsea Bowling triple, and again after Tia Keitt made a layup before Mars Hill went on another run.
The Lions closed the final three minutes of the first half on an 11-3 run to make the halftime score 39-30 in favor of the Tornado.
Mars Hill came out and continued their run in the second half as they quickly cut their deficit to 41-37 four minutes in before Keitt sparked a 17-3 Tornado run. Sprouse connected on a pair of jump shots on the spurt before Stringer drilled a triple and Stephanie Brantley capped the run with a bucket to give King a 58-40 lead. Over the final 10 minutes, King never led by more than 13 points as they cruised to the 74-58 victory.
Collins paced the Tornado scorers with 16 points in her college debut while Durrett accounted for 11 points and 14 rebounds. Bowling chipped in on the offensive end with 12 points while Keitt and Mitchell dished out three assists apiece.
King will be in action again on Saturday when they host Tusculum College in the Student Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.