BELMONT, N.C. – After a stunning 52-49 victory over Belmont Abbey College on January 21, an injury-depleted King University women's basketball team was unable to repeat the feat as the Crusaders avenged last month's result with a 71-45 win in Conference Carolinas play.
In addition to using Jalan Harper sparingly as she recovers from an injury, the Tornado (15-9, 9-7 Conference Carolinas) were without Sydney Harris, Whitney Mitchell, and Bonnie Durrett for Wednesday night's contest, severely depleting what was has been considered a remarkably deep team. With so many ailing key contributors, the Tornado struggled to shoot the ball effectively. King shot 31.0 percent from the field (18-of-58), including just 19.0 percent from three-point range.
Despite its disadvantages, King was able to grab the lead in the early going. After a Crusader three-point shot, the Tornado embarked on a 7-0 run to take their largest lead of the game. But the advantage would be short-lived, as a Morgan Midkiff three-point shot gave Belmont Abbey a 9-8 lead that they would never relinquish. The Crusaders would close the half on a 27-11 run to take a 32-20 lead into the break and gradually extended their advantage throughout the second half, pulling away for their eventual 26-point margin of victory.
Alley Sprouse led the Tornado with 10 points and also contributed four rebounds. Whitney Roberts had a career-high seven rebounds off the bench, shattering her previous best of two rebounds in King's December 14 game at Virginia Intermont College. She also tied her career best of four points, while Sara Mitchell matched her season high with three rebounds. Jalan Harper contributed five rebounds, while Chelsea Bowling had three assists and a pair of steals to go with her three points and three rebounds.
The Crusaders were paced by McKenzie Owen, who scored 21 points and collected eight rebounds in 27 minutes of play off the bench. Kelsey Long and Midkiff joined Owen in double figures with 17 and 10 points. Melisa Foures pulled down nine rebounds, while Candace Fox had five assists on the evening.
King returns to action on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. as the Tornado host Pfeiffer University in a Conference Carolinas matchup. It will be the final home game of the regular season for King and will feature Senior Day festivities.