Offense rolls as King defeats Barton

WILSON, N.C. – The King University women's basketball team traveled to Barton College on Saturday evening and tried to bounce back from a tough loss on Monday. The Tornado pulled away from the Bulldogs late in the first half and held off a late Bulldog rally to take the contest 76-66.

The teams battled back-and-forth in the early going until the score was tied at 10 nearly seven minutes into the contest. Bonnie Durrett spared a King run with a three-point basket and layup. Chelsea Bowling followed with a layup before Durrett sank a pair of free throws, and Kelly Jackson capped the 11-0 run with a buck in the paint just over halfway through the first frame.

The Bulldogs (8-11, 5-6 CC) came back to get within four points, but the Tornado (12-6, 6-4 CC) answered with five straight points. Tia Keitt hit a free throw before Sydney Harris made a layup and Jalan Harper converted a tip-in. King stretched their lead to 16 points followed a pair of Bowling free throws with two minutes remaining and held a 39-25 advantage at halftime.

Barton came out in the second half and scored the first six points to cut into their deficit. The Bulldogs cut their deficit to eight points three minutes into the half, but Harper answered with a three-point basket to stretch the King lead back to 11 points.

Nearly eight minutes into the half, Durrett sparked a 6-0 King with a pair of jump shots. Harper followed with a layup to stretch King's lead to 58-42 with 11 minutes left. The Tornado advantage reached 16 points on two more occasions before the Bulldogs tried to make a comeback. Trailing 69-57, Barton scored five straight points to cut the King lead to seven points with three minutes left, but they couldn't get any closer as King took the game 76-66.

The Tornado shot 59.6 percent from the floor, their best mark of the season. It is also the second time King has shot over 50 percent in a game this season, the last time was on November 14 at University of Pikeville where they shot 59.1 percent.

King was led by Durrett and Harper. Durrett scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds, and Harper poured in 15 points to go along with a game-high nine rebounds and five assists. Alley Sprouse was solid defensively, blocking five shots.

Nyeshaea Willie led the Bulldogs with 32 points. Tiffany Webster followed with 12 points.

King returns home on Wednesday to face Erskine College at the Student Center Complex. The game is the first in a five-game homestand for the Tornado. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.