Belmont Abbey sophomore guard Morgan Midkiff posted a near triple double with 20 points, eight rebounds and nine assists to lead five Crusaders in double figures with an easy 94-59 victory over the visiting Converse College Valkyries this evening inside the Wheeler Center. Belmont Abbey improves to 17-7 overall and 11-3 in Conference Carolinas, while Converse drops to 1-21 overall and 1-13 in league play.
The Crusaders set season highs in points, field goals made (40), three point field goals made (12), field goal percentage (59.7) three-point field goal percentage (63.2) and assists (36).
The Crusaders never trailed and final score represented the largest lead as Belmont Abbey was never challenged in the contest as all but two players scored. 36 of the Abbey's 40 baskets were assisted, as Candace Fox, the conference leader in assists per game, handed out ten.
Midkiff and Kelsey Long both scored a game-high 20 points, as Midkiff sank eight of 16 from the field and four of five from three-point range. She also had eight rebounds, nine assists and five steals, all in just 26 minutes. Long sank nine of 13 from the field with four assists in 22 minutes. Caitlyn Ranson added a season-high 18 on seven of ten shooting, including four of seven from three point range. McKenzie Owen netted 12 on six of seven shooting with four rebounds, while Amari Moreland added ten points two assists and a steal.
Belmont Abbey led 47-32 at the half behind the strength of seven of ten shooting from three-point range as part of a 19-32 effort from the field (59.2 percent). The Crusaders scored the first six points of the game and ran out to a 14-2 lead with just under five minutes gone by to put the game away early.
Converse pulled to as close as six at 24-18 with 10:48 left, but back-to-back three pointers from Mikdiff and Long moved the lead back to 12 to keep the lead in double digits for the rest of the game.
The first half advantage rose to as high as 18 on a Moreland three-pointer with 5:24 to play. A Converse basket with 30 seconds left made the lead 15 at the break.
The second half was all Belmont Abbey, as the Crusaders outscored Converse 47-27 as they matched their 19-32 conversion rate from the first half.
Owen gave the Crusaders their first 30 point lead when she swished a jumper from the left corner with 8:04 to go and the 35 point win was the largest lead of the game as Ranson closed the contest by scoring the last five points.