NEWBERRY, SC - Belmont Abbey's women's basketball team played its final game of the Stokes-Trainor Conference Challenge this evening at Newberry College. Their 68-64 win over the Coker Cobras movesd the team record to 1-1.
Freshman Chrystal Ezechukwu put the Abbey on the board first, as she grabbed a rebound, drew a foul, and converted a pair of free throws. A 5-0 run gave the Abbey an early lead. By the end of the period, Ezechukwu had six points and four rebounds. The Crusaders led 20-16.
In the second, sophomore guard Taylor Johnson scored five points in the first four minutes to put the Crusaders up 28-22. The defense also forced Newberry into a three-and-a-half-minute drought of only scoring two points. A 6-0 run in the closing minutes of the period gave the Crusaders a nine-point edge. At halftime, Belmont Abbey owned a 43-34 lead. Johnson's 10 points were tied for the game-high up to that point, while senior Alexius Hampton's four assists led all players.
A couple of baskets early in the third by forward Gabrielle Bethel and Ezechukwu put the Abbey on top by 13. Belmont Abbey only scored two more points in the quarter, but the tough defense prevented the Cobras from gaining the lead.
Bethel provided the Abbey with an offensive surge in the final period, scoring six points in the first 3:11 of the quarter. Newberry made a last-minute surge near the end of the game, but two free throws by senior Morgan Midkiff with seven seconds remaining sealed the 68-64 win for the Crusaders.
On the night, Belmont Abbey outrebounded Coker 38-34. Bethel scored a game-high 17 points, 11 of which came in the second half. Her 12 rebounds were also the game high. Johnson contributed with 16 points, while Midkiff recorded 10 points and five assists. Ezechukwu finished with 14 points and nine rebounds.
Belmont Abbey will be back on the court on Wednesday, November 23 when it welcomes the Charleston Golden Eagles for its Thanksgiving game.