BRISTOL, Tenn. – Behind a sharpshooting show put on by freshman Stephanie Brantley, the Lady Tornado were two points away from tying Thursday night's game versus Belmont Abbey College with less than 10 seconds remaining. King fell just short of overcoming a 16-point, second-half deficit in its 60-56 loss to the Crusaders inside the Student Center Complex. With the loss, the Lady Tornado fall to 5-4 overall and 1-4 in Conference Carolinas play.
After Belmont Abbey took a 31-27 lead into halftime, the Crusaders broke out of the locker room to go on a 16-4 run to build a 16 point lead over King. The run was capped off by Kelsey Long's fourth three pointer of the game and fifth consecutive point for BAC for a 47-31 advantage. Then began a shooting display put on by Stephanie Brantley (Pilot Mountain, N.C.) to help cut the lead to two points with 4:39 remaining.
Senior Allison Bosse (Knoxville, Tenn.) began King's comeback with consecutive jumpers then bringing down a key rebound that led to a pair of Chelsea Bowling (Elizabethton, Tenn.) free throws to cut the lead to 10, 47-37. Both teams swapped three pointers to maintain the 10-point gap before Brantley began to heat up from behind the arc. The freshman scored the next eight King points by nailing back-to-back three pointers and a mid-range jumper to make for a one-basket contest, 50-48, with 5:37 to go in the game.
Brooke Johnson (Roan Mountain, Tenn.), who entered the game just 160 points away from 1,000 career points, swapped long-range makes with Belmont Abbey's Morgan Midkiff before Kelsey Long extended the Crusader's lead to five points, 58-53, with the team's 12th and final three pointer of the game with 1:37 to go in the game.
Brantley once again brought the crowd to its feet with her fourth three pointer of the game and third consecutive make. Her bucket with 1:12 to go brought King within two points of Belmont Abbey, 58-56, before Melisa Foures' turnover gave the Lady Tornado the opportunity it needed to tie the game.
On the ensuing King possession, the Lady Tornado unleashed a flurry of offensive activity but failed to convert on four straight shots after winning the battle of the boards underneath. After the final miss of the sequence, Chelsea Bowling was fouled by Candace Fox after bringing down the team's fourth straight offensive rebound and going up for a chance to score. Bowling's trip to the free throw line was unsuccessful as she missed short and to the left on her first attempt. She purposely missed the second shot, hoping for yet another offensive rebound but Melisa Foures corralled the rebound, forcing King to foul the Crusaders four straight times to put them at the line. Morgan Midkiff hit both of her free throws with under two seconds remaining and held on to the four point lead en route to the win, 60-56.
Stephanie Brantley led the Lady Tornado with 18 points, a new career best for the freshman. Her previous high was nine points at home against Virginia Intermont (Nov. 14). She shot 60 percent, all-around, while hitting 4-of-5 three-point attempts taken. She added three rebounds, two on the offensive end, and two steals in 24 minutes.
Bonnie Durrett (West Paducah, Ky.) recorded her third double-double of the season with a 13 point, 10 rebound performance. The sophomore hit 3-of-6 threes and went 5-for-12 from the field. She added three steals and two assists.
Allison Bosse and Brooke Johnson each scored eight points. Johnson is now 152 points away from achieving 1,000 points in her collegiate career. Chelsea Bowling led the team with five steals and two blocks.
Belmont Abbey's Kelsey Long led all scorers with 21 points, 15 coming from her 5-for-9 performance from three-point range. She finished shooting better than 50 percent from the field (8-15). Morgan Midkiff (17) and Caitlyn Ranson (11) joined Long in double digit scoring. The trio combined for 49 of the Crusaders' 60 points.
King, now 5-4 overall and 1-4 in Conference Carolinas play, will play Erskine College on Wednesday, Jan. 9, in Due West, S.C. at 5:30 p.m. They will return to the Student Center Complex next Saturday, Jan. 12, to host Pfeiffer University at 5:30 p.m.