BRISTOL, Tenn. – In what was a defensive struggle, the King University women's basketball team came away with a nonconference victory on Friday night in the Student Center. The Tornado used an 8-0 run to close the first half and take a lead they wouldn't relinquish as they topped Salem International University 51-32.
The Tigers (0-4) scored the first four points of the game, but King responded with an 11-0 run to gain the lead. Bonnie Durrett got King on the board with a pair of free throws and a layup before Tia Keitt drilled one of King's five three-point baskets in the game. Keitt then added a pair of layups to cap the spurt.
However, Salem International followed by scoring 10 straight points to regain the lead at 14-11. King (3-1) then trailed 16-13 when Keitt tried to get the offense going with another triple. Whitney Mitchell followed with a three-point basket, and Keitt capped the first half scoring with a layup with one minute remaining to give the Tornado a 21-16 lead at the break.
The Tornado kept their run going to start the second half by scoring the first eight points of the frame to push their run to 16-0 and force a Tiger timeout. Durrett started the stanza with a bucket before Mitchell added a pair of buckets around an Arnelle Collins layup to put King up 29-16 two minutes into the second half.
King stretched their lead to 34-18 following a Chelsea Bowling three-point basket with 15 minutes remaining. Salem International cut their deficit to 11 with 12 minutes left, but the Tornado quickly extended their advantage and Alley Sprouse put King up 45-27 with a layup six minutes later. King earned their largest lead of the game, 21 points, following an Amy Van Deventer jumper with one minute left as they took the contest 51-32.
The Tornado shot 31.8 percent from the floor and 18.5 percent from three-point range while Salem International shot 29.5 percent from the floor and 25.0 percent from long range. The Tornado forced 24 Tiger turnovers, accounting for eight steals.
Keitt led King with 12 points, all coming in the first half, while Durrett added 11 points to go along with eight rebounds. Mitchell added 10 points, and Sprouse chipped in with nine points, all coming in the second half.
King will be in action again on Tuesday when they return to Conference Carolinas play at Pfeiffer University. Tipoff from Misenheimer, N.C., is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.