DUE WEST, S.C. – The Lady Tornado basketball team improved in the areas that have been of concern limiting turnovers, improving their rebounding and increasing their scoring output for the third consecutive game. However, King could not overcome the superior shooting of their opponent in their latest contest against the Flying Fleet of Erskine College falling on the road, 68-57, Tuesday night.
King (3-14, 3-5) was down by 25 points with less than nine minutes left in the game but began to chip into the lead over the next 4:57, going on a 16-0 run over that time. In the final 8:48 of the game, the King defense stifled Erksine's offense allowing just six points and two field goals for the rest of the game. The Lady Tornado forced seven consecutive misses on the Fleet's attempts from the field and three turnovers before they made their next bucket away from the free throw line at the 2:09 mark.
Five different players put points on the board to begin the Lady Tornado run, starting with Kelly Jackson's runner in the paint with 8:13 remaining. Alley Sprouse put up two more points with a mid-range jumper followed by consecutive three pointers by Brittany Fields (Blountville, Tenn.) and Jana Gross (Dayton, Ohio) to draw within 15 points with six minutes still left on the clock.
Brooke Johnson (Roan Mountain, Tenn.) and Gross each hit a pair of free throws to draw King closer to the Fleet, 62-51. Johnson then benefitted from her own miss and got the putback to fall, cutting the lead to single digits with under four minutes to go. King drew within eight after Sprouse kicked in two more points in the paint to make the score 63-55, but that was all the closer they came to Erskine as the Fleet's Porsha Morgan converted a three-point play the hard way followed by a two pointer by Adrienne Bannerman to put the game out of reach, 68-57.
The Lady Tornado limited their turnovers, committing only 15 and forcing the Flying Fleet into 13 miscues. King outscored Erskine in points off turnovers, 15-13, though the Fleet held the advantage in points in the paint (26-22) and second-chance points (16-9).
Sprouse, a freshman from Newport, Tenn., led the Navy and Scarlett with 14 points and shot .636 from the field, hitting 7-of-11 shots. She was one of three Lady Tornado to register six rebounds, joining Allison Bosse (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Kelly Jackson (Lynchburg, Va.) in that category. Brooke Johnson scored 13 points, seven by way of the free throw line.
King went perfect from the charity stripe hitting all 13 of their attempts, however shot 34.5 percent from the field (20-58) and only 20 percent (4-20) from three-point range.
Porsha Morgan led the Fleet with 16 points. Elizabeth Tatum recorded a double-double, scoring 13 points and pulling down 11 rebounds. Erskine shot 41.9 percent from the field as a team and 45.5 percent in the first half alone. After hitting half of their eight three-point shots in the first half, they came back down to Earth hitting only 1-of-5 in the second frame.
The Lady Tornado fall to 3-14 (3-5) on the season. They will return to the Student Center Complex for a rematch of their first-ever Conference Carolinas game played against Limestone as the College celebrates Solid Blue this Thursday night (Jan. 26). The women will begin play against the Saints at 5:30 p.m. with the men to follow.
Free giveaways will be given while they last to those in attendance for Solid Blue. Gifts include Tornado wrist bands, Solid Blue t-shirts, rally towels and special headdresses for those wild enough to wear them. Special contests will take place during both games allowing fans their chance at an array of prizes, including a chance to win a new iPod Nano.