MT. OLIVE, NC - The Belmont Abbey women's basketball team dropped a competitive 84-80 contest at Mt. Olive this evening. The defeat puts the Abbey at 9-11 on the season with a 7-8 conference mark. The Trojans move to 15-4 this year and 12-2 against conference opponents.
Guard Taylor Johnson scored each of the first eight Crusader points of the game, which she completed in less than four minutes. The Crusaders fell into a small scoring drought, but ended the period with a Taylor Gittings jumper. Mt. Olive won the first quarter 22-14. In the second, senior Gabrielle Bethel stole the show, scoring six points in the first 5:04 of the period. Also, the Abbey's defense forced the Trojans into a 4-minute span of no baskets in the later part of the quarter. Then Chrystal Ezechukwu scored four points in a span of 25 seconds to give the Abbey the momentum as they headed into halftime trailing 45-30.
The third quarter was all Abbey. The Crusaders tallied the first six points of the quarter and went on an 8-2 run not long after to pull within five 49-44. In the closing minutes of the period, Bethel scored seven points in a 1:38 span to make it a 59-55 game with 26 seconds in the third. Johnson made it 59-57 with a jump shot as the clock expired.
In the final quarter, Belmont Abbey continued to challenge the Trojans, led by Ezechukwu, who scored 12 of her 26 points in the fourth. The Abbey ended the game on a 7-0 run, but fell short, as Mt. Olive took the game 84-80.
On the night, Ezechukwu scored 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, producing her ninth double-double. Bethel also earned a double-double with 19 points and 10 boards, seven offensive. Johnson finished with 18 points scored, while guard Alexius Hampton dished out a team-high five assists.
The Crusaders will visit Emmanuel College on Saturday in Franklin Springs, GA. Tip-off is scheduled for 2pm.