The Belmont Abbey women's basketball team seized control of the game late in the first half, opening up a double digit lead for the rest of the game as the Crusaders won for the fifth time in the last seven games with a convincing 79-62 victory over the visiting Livingstone Blue Bears this evening inside the Wheeler Center. Belmont Abbey moves to 6-4 as it gains a season sweep of the series, while the Blue Bears drop to 5-4.
Both teams traded leads through most of the first half but the Abbey used an 11-2 run late in the first half to open up a 13 point lead at 32-19 with 4:32 left. The Abbey, which never trailed after the 11:32 mark, scored the last five points of the half to carry a 41-24 lead into the break.
Belmont Abbey built its halftime lead on the strength of 56 percent shooting from the field, while holding Livingstone to just eight field goals on 35 attempts (23 percent). Morgan Midkiff, who finished with a team-high 16 points, netted 11 in the first half, as did McKenzie Owen, who was hampered by foul trouble and totaled 13 for the game.
The Crusaders maintained their double figures advantage in the second half, even as both teams scored 38 points in the final 20 minutes. Livingstone, after its poor shooting first half, warmed up to 42 percent in the second half, but it could not put a dent into the Crusaders lead. Belmont Abbey's edge never dropped below 13 points and rose to as high as 21, which came on two Caitlyn Ranson free throws with 1:18 to play.
Belmont Abbey shot a season best 49 percent from the floor, converting 26 of 53 field goals, including five of ten from three-point range. 16 of the 26 baskets were assisted.
Midkiff led the Abbey with 16 points on five of ten shooting with four rebounds and two assists. Owen added 13 and three rebounds. Melisa Foures grabbed nine rebounds to lead the way. Candace Fox handed out six assists, while Larisa Bishop totaled three.
The Crusaders will now take ten days off for final exams, as they return to the court December 17 at Chowan.