The Belmont Abbey women's basketball team roared out on an 11-0 run to begin the game as the Crusaders never trailed in an easy 83-50 victory over the visiting Southern Wesleyan Warriors this evening inside the Wheeler Center. Belmont Abbey earns its fifth-straight win to improve the record to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in Conference Carolinas, while the Warriors, in their firt season as an NCAA Division II institution as a member of Conference Carolinas, falls to 1-4 overall and 1-3 in league play.
Belmont Abbey was never threatened in the game as the Crusaders carried that 11-0 run by gaining a lead as high as 36 points late in the second half.
Morgan Midkiff led three Crusaders in double figures with a game-high 17 points, 14 in the first half as she buried four three-pointers. The Crusaders shot 48 percent (18-37) in the opening 20 minutes while SWU shot 41 percent (12-29) in a period that was marred by turnovers. The two teams combined to record 27 miscues in the opening 20 minutes and finished with a combined 47 in the game.
Belmont Abbey led 42-27 at the break after Southern Wesleyan cut the lead down to as few as seven at 24-17, but the Crusaders pulled away with a 10-0 run to end any doubt.
The second half was all Crusaders, as the Abbey shot 41 percent from the field and held Southern Wesleyan to a 21 percent effort. Taylor Gittings gave the Abbey its biggest lead of the game at the 3:41 mark as her layup increased the Crusaders lead to 80-44. Gabrielle Bethel's free throw with 37 seconds left punctuated the 33 point victory.
Every available player saw action and all but two scored. Along with Midkiff, McKenzie Owen added 12 points and Ashia Holmes netted nine. 22 of the Abey's 35 field goals were assisted as Holmes led the way with six assists. Caitlyn Ranson added five and Janeisha Davis handed out six with a career-high seven points.
The Crusaders dominated the boards by a 54-37 count as three players-Owen, Bethel and Tajanna Brown-each had seven. 22 of the 54 boards came on the offensive glass as Bethel had five offensive rebounds.
Belmont Abbey will step out of conference play in its next game, as the Crusaders welcome Georgia Southwestern Saturday night at 5:30 on Women's Basketball Alumni Night. The program will honor India Adams, the school's second all-time leading scorer who is also the aunt to Stephen and Seth Curry.