HARROGATE, Tenn. – Playing their fifth straight road game, and second in three nights, the King University women's basketball team relied on their defense and free throw shooting to hand Lincoln Memorial University their third loss of the season. King nearly shot 90 percent from the free throw line, and their defense suffocated the Railsplitter offense in the 61-41 victory.
King (5-4) held an advantage early in the contest, but the Railsplitters answered with an 8-0 run to take a 10-4 lead five minutes in. However, King had a response as a Whitney Mitchell jumper ignited the Tornado offense. Following Mitchell's bucket, Bonnie Durrett went on a personal 8-0 run, drilling a pair of three-point baskets and two free throws to put King up 14-10. Arnelle Collins capped the 12-0 run with a jumper in the paint.
Lincoln Memorial (7-3) cut the deficit to three at 18-15, but Mitchell and Collins answered with back-to-back buckets to extend the lead back to seven. The Railsplitters got the last basket of the half to make the score 24-19 in favor of the Tornado.
The King defense dug in to start the second half as they only allowed two Railsplitter points through the first seven minutes, including a stretch of more than six minutes where Lincoln Memorial didn't score a point. In that time, the Tornado extended their lead to 35-21. Tia Keitt had five points on the spurt while Alley Sprouse capped the run with back-to-back buckets.
After the Railsplitters got on the board with a three-point basket, King responded by scoring five straight points to open up a 41-24 lead with 10 minutes remaining. The Tornado then held their lead there until Lincoln Memorial tried to make a run over the final four minutes.
The Railsplitters got two quick buckets to cut their deficit to 52-41 with just more than two minutes remaining, but King head coach Josh Thompson called for a timeout to settle the Tornado down. After the timeout, King made nine of their final 10 free throws and held the Railsplitters scoreless to seal the 61-41 road victory.
King forced the Railsplitters into 27 turnovers, accounting for 11 steals. The Tornado also held Lincoln Memorial to a 26.9 field goal percentage, including a 10.0 three-point field goal percentage. On the offensive end, the Tornado shot 30.4 percent from the floor and 25.0 percent from three-point range. At the free throw line, King turned in one of their best shooting performances of the season, going 24-for-27 from the charity stripe for an 88.0 percentage.
Mitchell led King with 15 points while Durrett followed with 14 points to go along with eight rebounds. Keitt and Collins added eight points apiece while Amy Van Deventer grabbed seven rebounds to go along with six points.
King returns home on Saturday when they host UVa-Wise. Tipoff from the Student Center Complex is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.