Belmont Abbey senior forward McKenzie Owen tied for the game-high with 15 points and Gabrielle Bethel logged her first career double double with 13 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, but Mount Olive pulled away in the second half to earn a 57-50 win this evening inside Kornegay Arena. Belmont Abbey drops its fifth-straight, falling to 8-7 overall and 4-5 in league play, while Mount Olive improves to 5-10 overall and 3-6 in Conference Carolinas.
The two teams were tied at 25 at halftime but the Trojans outscored the Abbey 32-25 in the final 20 minutes, including a 17-9 closing run in the final 5:18 after the Crusaders closed the deficit to 42-40.
Both schools played as evenly as the halftime score in the opening half as each team shot 34 percent from the field. However, the Abbey converted four of seven from the line while Mount Olive did not attempt a free throw as the Crusaders were whistled for just one foul.
The Trojans opened the game on a 12-6 run and would build the lead to 20-8 with 10:13 to play, but Mount Olive only scored five more points the rest of the way as the Abbey battled back with a 16-0 run over the next seven minutes as it secured its first lead at 22-20 since it led 4-2.
Mount Olive broke the drought with a three-pointer at the 2:26 mark, but two free throws from Briana Grier pushed the Crusaders back on top with 1:57 to go. The Trojans netted the final points of the half with 59 seconds left to deadlock the contest at 25 entering halftime.
Owen scored the first bucket of the second half, but Mount Olive countered with a 9-2 run to seize a lead it would never lose again, surging ahead 34-29 with 13:33 to play.
Belmont Abbey would close the lead to 42-41 with 5:30 left, but the Trojans closed with a flourish to win by seven.
The Crusaders shot just 28 percent from the field as Owen's 15 points came on 6-14 shooting with seven rebounds. Bethel logged all of her 13 points in the second half after finishing 0-4 from the floor in the first half. She added a career-high 14 rebounds with two steals and a blocked shot. Caitlyn Ranson added 10 points, four rebounds and two assists.
Belmont Abbey converted just 3-18 from three-point range, with Ranson converting two of those, and 9-12 from the free throw line.