Belmont Abbey senior guard Kelsey Long scored 15 of her game-high 25 points in the second half, and sophomore guard Morgan Midkiff added 21 points and ten rebounds as the Crusaders women's basketball team dominated the second half to earn a 76-59 win over the visiting University of Mount Olive Trojans this evening inside the Wheeler Center. The Crusaders, winners of three-straight and six of the last seven, improve to 18-7 overall and 12-3 in Conference Carolinas, while the Trojans drop to 15-8 overall and 10-5 in league play.
The win gives the Abbey a season sweep of Mount Olive, the first time that has happened since the 2004-05 season. The victory also halts Mount Olive's seven game winning streak. The Trojans had won seven straight and had not lost since the Abbey's 59-54 win in Mount Olive on January 18.
Long and Midkiff both posted their second consecutive game with at least 20 points, as Long's 25 led all players. McKenzie Owen added 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Belmont Abbey never trailed and led by as many as 21, which came in the second half. The Crusaders stormed ahead 14-4 as Mount Olive missed its first nine shots. The Trojans, whose first two points came from the line, found their stride and closed the Abbey's lead to a pair at 14-12 with 10:40 to go and would eventually tie the game at 21 with 5:57 showing, but the Crusaders closed the half on a 13-9 run to carry a 34-30 lead into the break.
The final 20 minutes saw the action remain close until an 18-6 Abbey burst blew the game open. The run, capped off by an Amari Moreland layup, opened the Crusaders lead to 17.
After an exchange of baskets, Long and Midkiff buried back-to-back three pointers to extend the cushion to 72-51-the largest lead of the game-with 3:38 left. Mount Olive used a late flurry to inch the lead down to 17, which was the final.
Belmont Abbey shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half as the Crusaders outscored the Trojans 42-29.
For the game, Belmont Abbey shot 46 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range
Long scored 25 points on eight of 11 shooting, including five of seven from three-point range. She also had two assists and a steal. Midkiff made eight of 19 from the floor with two assists and a steal. Owen sank seven of 13 from the field, including four of five in the second half. The trio combined to score 62 of the Abbey's 76 points.
The Crusaders are back in action Wednesday night at 5:30 when hosting King in the final regular season home game of the year.