GAFFNEY, S.C. – Playing in their first Conference Carolinas Tournament championship game, the King University women's basketball team had the daunting task of facing the nation's second ranked team, Limestone College on their home court. The third seeded Tornado proved to be up to the challenge throughout the contest, and held a 53-49 in the final minute. However, the unbeaten Saints made a pair of three-point baskets to take the lead and earn the 56-53 victory.
FINAL SCORE: #2 Limestone 56, King 53
LOCATION: Timken Center; Gaffney, S.C
RECORDS: King 19-12; Limestone 30-0
HOW IT HAPPENED
- King got off to a great start and held the upper hand throughout the first quarter. The Tornado used a 5-0 run to take a 5-2 lead and took a 9-5 lead behind Arnelle Collins and Ashley Albertson.
- Sydney Harris gave King their largest lead of the quarter at 16-11 when she made a layup.
- After the first quarter, King held an 18-15 lead.
- The teams started the second quarter trading baskets as the Saints took the lead, but Sheena Johnson answered with a triple.
- Albertson hit a pair of free throws and a jumper to put King up 25-22 two minutes and 30 seconds, but the Saint defense dug in at that point.
- Limestone held the Tornado scoreless for the rest of the quarter, but the King defense was nearly as impressive, keeping the Tornado within striking distance.
- Amaura Brandt and Jasmine Kearse hit back-to-back triples midway through the quarter to give Limestone the lead.
- The Saints then went scoreless for the next four minutes until Brandt hit another triplein the final minute that gave Limestone at 31-25 lead at halftime.
- Albertson brought King back to start the third quarter with a jump shot and trifecta, pulling King within one two minutes in.
- King grabbed a 36-34 lead on a triple from Johnson, but the Saints answered with a 6-0 run.
- Whitney Mitchell ended the spurt with a triple before the Saints scored the final bucket of the quarter, taking a 42-39 lead going into the final 10 minutes.
- The score was tied for the fifth time a 44-44 following two free throws from Brandt before Victoria Marshall connected for long range for the Saints.
- Amber Wright made it a 49-44 Limestone lead with six minutes remaining, but the Tornado had one last run.
- Albertson and Mitchell made back-to-back buckets, pulling King within one before Johnson made a layup to put King on top 50-49 with two minutes remaining.
- Mitchell connected again from three-point range, give King a 53-49 lead with 1:05 remaining.
- However, Brandt answered with a triple 12 seconds later.
- Limestone got a stop and Brandt struck again, drilling another triple that put the Saints ahead 55-53 with 24 seconds remaining.
- The Saints then made one-of-two free throws to take a 56-53 lead with 13 seconds remaining.
- King missed a shot in the waning seconds as the Saints held on for the 56-53 victory.
- Albertson led King with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
- Mitchell followed with 15 points
- Johnson nearly had a double-double, accounting for 10 rebounds to go along with eight points.
FOR THE FOES
- The game was clean as King only committed seven turnovers and the Saints had 10.
- Brandt led the Saints with 23 points while Kearse followed with 12 points, six assists and six rebounds.
- Maurissa Lester added eight points and eight rebounds.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- King only committed seven turnovers, marking their third straight game with less than 10 turnovers.
- The double-double for Albertson was her sixth of the season.
- Jalan Harper and Albertson were both named to the all-tournament team.
- In her final game wearing the scarlet and navy, Stephanie Brantley grabbed three rebounds.
- Fellow senior Brittany Stringer suffered an injury and was unable to play in the contest.
- This duo helped build to the Tornado into a consistent Conference Carolinas contender, finishing eight in the league standings their freshman year to second place finishes each of the last two years.
- They were also apart of King's first Conference Carolinas Tournament victory in 2014 and helped King reach the conference tournament championship for the first time.