BRISTOL, Tenn. – It didn't go quite the way head coach Josh Thompson drew it up, but the King University women's basketball team pushed their winning streak to eight games with a win in the Student Center Complex on Saturday afternoon. The Tornado held a 16-point lead early in the second half, but had to hold off a late Belmont Abbey College run to take the 65-63 Conference Carolinas victory.
King (12-4, 7-3 CC) fell behind early, but seniors Bonnie Durrett and Tia Keitt fueled a 6-2 run that gave the Tornado a 6-5 lead three minutes in. The Tornado later trailed 16-15 before Keitt nailed a jump shot to ignite a 9-0 run. She followed that with a steal and layup before Chelsea Bowling connected on a three-point attempt. Arnelle Collins capped the spurt with a fastbreak layup to give the Tornado a 24-16 lead with seven minutes left in the first half.
The Tornado held the lead there, and Bowling connected on another triple with 17 seconds left, giving King their largest lead of the first half, 38-26. However, Belmont Abbey (8-8, 4-6 CC) scored the final bucket of the frame to make the score 38-28 at halftime.
King opened their lead back to 12 when Amy Van Deventer scored the first bucket of the second frame before the Crusaders started to make a comeback. Belmont Abbey cut their deficit to 40-35 with a 7-0 run before Keitt got King back on the board with an old fashioned three-point play.
Keitt's three-point play sparked the King offense as they rolled off 11 straight points to gain their largest advantage of the contest at 51-35 with 13 minutes remaining. Bowling drained another trifecta on the run and Collins capped the spurt with a layup.
At that point the Crusaders started to work their way back, using a 17-4 run to cut their deficit to 55-52 with nine minutes remaining. Belmont Abbey then scored the next bucket to make it a one-point game with seven minutes left.
However, Keitt answered with a layup, but the Crusaders answered with a bucket to make the score 57-56 with six minutes left. Van Deventer then made a pair of free throws and a layup to give King a little breathing room with four minutes left.
King again led 63-58 following a Bowling layup before Belmont Abbey scored the next four points, cutting their deficit to 63-62 with 1:22 remaining. Bowling then made two free throws with 49 seconds left to give the Tornado a three point advantage. After the Crusaders split a pair of free throws, they had a chance to tie the game, but their shot at the buzzer was off target as King took the 65-63 victory.
King shot 37.5 percent from the floor in the contest while the Crusaders posted a 38.2 field goal percentage.
Bowling led King with 19 points, and eight rebounds. Keitt was the only other Tornado in double figures with 15 points to go along with six rebounds and two assists. Collins added nine points and Van Deventer chipped in with eight points and eight rebounds.
King will be in action again on Monday when they host Emmanuel College. Tipoff is slated for 5:30 p.m., in the Student Center Complex.