BRISTOL, Tenn. – Brooke Johnson's runner down the lane helped King force an overtime battle with the Belmont Abbey Crusaders on Wednesday night but the guests outlasted the Lady Tornado, 53-48. King falls to 4-18 overall and 4-10 in Conference Carolinas play.
With 2:13 remaining in the game King trailed by five points, 41-36. Melisa Foures fouled Alley Sprouse (Newport, Tenn.) on her way to the bucket, putting Sprouse on the line. The freshman center hit both of her shots to trim the lead to three points. After Johnson missed a three, she fed Brittany Kinser (Greeneville, Tenn.) who hit a three-ball from the left wing to tie the game at 41 all with 1:35 remaining.
A King foul put Foures at the line, where she split the pair of free throws to take a one-point advantage. The Crusaders had a chance to increase the lead, but their free throw shooting struggles continued when Caitlyn Ranson missed both of her shots on her next trip to the line with 31 seconds left.
Down 42-41 with 25 seconds remaining, King came out of a full timeout and set up their final play of the half. Johnson worked off of a pair of screens and drove the lane, putting up a layup that fell with 10 seconds left to give the Lady Tornado a 43-42 lead. The Crusaders drove the floor on the ensuing possession. Ranson missed on a jumper from the right side but was fouled by Kelly Jackson (Lynchburg, Va.) with two seconds remaining to put her at the charity stripe for two shots. Ranson missed the front end of the pair but quieted the crowd when she hit the second, tying the game at 43 points and forcing overtime.
Though their shooting woes plagued them in the second half, Belmont Abbey hit all six shots taken from the free throw line in the five-minute overtime session. The visitors scored the frame's first four points on buckets from Ranson and Noel Bullock but fouls put the Crusaders at the line late in the OT to help them pull away with a 53-48 victory.
Johnson led the team with 15 points and took 20 shots to lead the King offense. Brittany Kinser shot with the most consistency, hitting 3-of-4 from the field, two from distance, for a total of eight points. Jackson and Allison Bosse (Knoxville, Tenn.) both pulled down eight boards while Jana Gross (Dayton, Ohio) continued dishing out assists, adding five after recording a season-high nine on Monday at Converse.
Ranson led the Crusaders (11-11, 7-6) with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Kelsey Long added 10 points, leading the team with 11 attempts on the day.
King will travel to Charlotte, N.C. to play the Queens (N.C.) Royals at 2:00 p.m. The Royals are 7-14 overall, 5-7 in Conference Carolinas play. Both teams are working toward earning one of the eight playoff spots available for the Conference Carolinas Tournament with five regular season games remaining.