BELMONT, NC - The Belmont Abbey women's basketball team dropped a nail-biter, 77-72 this afternoon to King University in the Wheeler Center. The Crusaders are now 9-10 on the year, with a 7-7 conference mark. The Tornado are now 15-5 and 12-2 in Conference Carolinas play.
The Abbey trailed early, but came back quickly, scoring eight points in a 1:04 span to pull within three at 13-10, capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Morgan Midkiff. The Crusaders continued to keep it close, and at the end of the period junior Briana Grier nailed a jump shot to give Belmont Abbey a 23-22 advantage. Junior Taylor Gittings scored each of the first four Abbey points of the second to keep the Crusaders in front. The teams battled back and forth, and Gittings finished the half strong as well, scoring four points in the final minute and a half. The Tornado led 40-36 at the half.
It did not take freshman Chrystal Ezechukwu long to get going in the third, as she scored four points early in the half. Later in the period, senior guard Alexius Hampton scored five points in 34 seconds to up the Abbey lead to 50-44. At the end of the period, King led 57-52. In the fourth, the Belmont Abbey defense continued to keep King within close range. The offense kept converting most of its opportunities. Hampton scored 10 points in the quarter. At the end of the fight, however, King took the game 77-72.
On the night, Ezechukwu's 18 points and 11 rebounds were both game-highs, and her eighth double-double this season. Gittings contributed 13 and four boards. Hampton scored 15, grabbed five rebounds, and handed out three assists.
Up next for the Abbey is a visit to Mt. Olive on Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30pm.