CENTRAL, S.C. – The King University women's basketball team may have gotten off to a slow start on Tuesday night at Southern Wesleyan University, but the Tornado opened the second half with a big run. The Tornado scored the first 15 points of the second half to open up a lead they wouldn't relinquish, stretching their winning streak to seven games with the 61-48 victory.
King dug themselves a hole in the early going, falling behind 9-0 over the first three minutes until Whitney Mitchell got the Tornado on the board four minutes in. The Tornado (11-4, 6-3 CC) again trailed by nine when Jalan Harper got her career night off and running with a three-point basket. Tia Keitt followed with another triple, cutting the Tornado deficit to 13-10 with nine minutes left in the first half.
Southern Wesleyan (6-6, 4-5 CC) held a 21-13 lead before Alley Sprouse tried to ignite the Tornado offense with a jumper in the paint. Harper followed with a three-point basket and Sprouse pulled King within one with another bucket in the paint. Sprouse then gave King their first lead of the contest at 22-21 with another jumper from the paint with three minutes remaining. However, the Warriors closed the half with a pair of triples to take a 27-22 lead into the locker room.
The Tornado looked like a different team to start the second half as Harper drilled a three-point basket 10 seconds in, and Amy Van Deventer followed with a bucket in the pain to even the score. Harper then gave King a lead they would hold for the remainder of the contest with yet another three-point basket. Whitney Mitchell and Van Deventer capped the 15-0 run to start the half with back-to-back buckets as King held a 36-27 lead with 15 minutes remaining.
King used another run, this one a 12-2 spurt to earn their largest lead of the game at 48-33 with 10 minutes to go. Harper and Chelsea Bowling started the run with consecutive three-point baskets and Van Deventer finished it with back-to-back layups.
Trailing 50-35, Southern Wesleyan tried to make a comeback, scoring nine straight points to cut their deficit to 50-44 with six minutes left. However, King head coach Josh Thompson used a timeout, which proved to be a good one. After the break, Harper connected on consecutive three-point attempts to stretch the King lead back to 56-44 as the Tornado went on to take the game 61-48 and move to 6-3 in Conference Carolinas play.
Both teams shot 33.3 percent from the field in the contest, but King made 27.0 percent of their three-point attempts while Southern Wesleyan shot 19.0 percent from long range.
Harper paced the King offense, scoring a career-high 23 points on 7-for-15 shooting from three-point range. She also made both of her free throw attempts. Van Deventer continued her hot play, grabbing a career-best 16 rebounds to go along with 12 points for her second double-double. Both Keitt and Harper dished out a team-best four assists.
King returns home on Saturday when they host Belmont Abbey College at 2:00 p.m. in the Student Center Complex.