November 14, 2013

King shoots the lights out in season-opening win

PIKEVILLE, Ky. – The King University women's basketball team opened the 2013-14 season with a bang, scoring 100 points for the first time in more than four years. The Tornado made nearly 60 percent of their shots in their 102-78 victory at the University of Pikeville on Thursday night.

The Bears (0-2) jumped ahead 8-5 early before Stephanie Brantley drilled a three-point basket to even the score. She then made a jump shot to give King their first lead of the game at 10-8 just four minutes into the game. However, Pikeville came back to take the lead, and scored six straight points to open up a 19-13 lead with 12 minutes left in the first half.

The Tornado (1-0) deficit stayed there until Bonnie Durrett and Tia Keitt nailed back-to-back triples to even the score at 24. The score was again tied at 29 before Jalen Harper sparked a King run with a three-point basket. Reazyn DeMoss and Keitt followed with back-to-back buckets to give King a 36-29 lead following the 7-0 run with five minutes left in the first half. The Bears came back and got within one, but Harper turned a steal into a layup with 32 seconds left in the frame to give King a 40-37 lead at halftime.

King shot 44.1 percent from the floor in the first half, including a blistering 53.9 percent from three-point range.

The Tornado offense only picked up in the second half, outscoring the Bears 62-41. Chelsea Bowling set the tone early as she drilled a three-point basket in the first minute. Pikeville came back and got within 43-39 before King gained control of the game and began to stretch their lead after Bowling connected on another triple. The King advantage reached double figures following an Alley Sprouse field goal with 16:31 remaining.

King's lead grew to as many as 25 points on two occasions, first following a pair of Harper free throws at 98-73, and again at 100-75 after a Harper jumper. King ultimately took the game 102-78, marking the first time in more than four years the Tornado have topped the century mark.

The Tornado shot 59.1 percent (39-for-66) from the field, their highest shooting percentage since shooting 63.0 percent against Washington Adventist on February 26, 2011. That mark included a 62.5 three-point field goal percentage as the Tornado went 15-for-24 from long range, marking their most three-point makes in a game since connecting on 15 attempts against Lincoln Memorial University on November 12, 2011.

Bowling led four King scorers in double figures with a career-high 20 points, going 7-for-8 from the floor and 4-for-4 from three-point range. Kelly Jackson and Durrett followed with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Jackson went 2-for-3 from deep while Durrett made all three of her attempts from long range. Keitt rounded out this group with 12 points, and Harper nearly made it five scores in double figures with nine points off the bench. Durrett led the Tornado with nine rebounds while Harper dished out a team-high six assists.

Callisha Johnson led the Bears with 39 points, going 14-for-27 from the floor.

King plays their home opener on Saturday when they host Carson-Newman University at the Student Center Complex. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 p.m.