MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – The King University women's basketball team put their nine-game winning streak on the line Friday night at the University of Mount Olive. In a game that was played within six points the whole way, Mount Olive came back in the second half to hand the Tornado their first loss in more than one month, 59-57.
Chelsea Bowling and Bonnie Durrett carried the Tornado offense early, both connecting on three-point attempts to put King (13-5, 8-4 CC) ahead 6-5. Durrett then hit a pair of free throws to put King up 10-7 before another Bowling triple gave the Tornado a 13-9 lead six minutes into the contest.
Amy Van Deventer gave the Tornado their largest lead to that point at 19-14 with a jumper in the paint, but the Trojans (7-11, 5-7 CC) answered with a run. Mount Olive scored five straight points to even the game, and then tacked on four more to take a 23-19 lead following their 9-0 spurt. However, Bowling thwarted the Trojan momentum with a triple and Jalan Harper and Van Deventer followed with four straight free throws to put King up 26-23 with 34 seconds left in the first half. Harper closed the half with an old fashioned three-point play to give King their largest lead of the game, 29-23 at the break.
The Trojans came out firing to start the second half, scoring the first four points and seven of the first nine to cut their deficit to 31-30 two minutes into the half. Bowling kept the Tornado ahead with another three-point basket, but Mount Olive hung around. Sprouse followed Bowling's triple with a bucket, but the Trojans came right back and cut their deficit to 36-35.
Sprouse again put King again 38-35 with 14 minutes left when Mount Olive scored six straight points to gain a 41-38 lead with 13 minutes remaining, but as she was all game, Bowling was there for the Tornado. The senior ended the spurt with a jump shot, and evened the score at 43-43 with another triple. The teams then traded buckets over the final 10 minutes.
Durrett gave King a 46-44 lead with a three-point basket with 10 minutes left, but the Trojans answered with a bucket to even the score. Van Deventer later gave the Tornado a 51-50 lead with a layup with five minutes left, but the Trojans responded with a 5-0 run to gain a 55-51 advantage with 2:32 remaining. Whitney Mitchell pulled King back within one with a trifecta with 1:54 remaining on the clock.
The Tornado had chances to take the lead over the final two minutes, but they couldn't get the shots to fall and eventually had to foul. Trailing by three with 15 seconds left, a Bowling three-point attempt was off the mark, and the Trojans made two free throws to ice the contest. Mitchell drilled a triple as time expired to make the final score 59-57 in favor of Mount Olive.
The loss ends King's nine-game winning streak and is their first loss since falling at Carson-Newman University on December 13.
King shot 33.9 percent from the floor and 39.1 percent from three-point range while the Trojans shot 41.4 percent from the floor and 45.5 percent from long range.
Bowling led King with 17 points on 5-for-9 shooting from three-point range. She also snared a team-high six rebounds. Mitchell and Van Deventer both added 10 points with Van Deventer grabbing six rebounds. Durrett scored eight points to go along with a team-high four assists.
King doesn't have long to dwell on the loss as they return to action on Saturday at Barton College. Tipoff from Wilson, N.C. is slated for 5:30 p.m.