Belmont Abbey junior guard Morgan Midkiff netted a career-high 32 points as the Crusaders women's basketball team closed the game on a 16-2 run in the final 2:44 to rally past Emmanuel 84-79 this evening in a Conference Carolinas matchup.
The Crusaders were down 77-68 with 2:55 to play, but the offense came alive in the final two minutes to win their second straight game to improve the record to 10-8 overall and 6-6 in Conference Carolinas, while the Lions drop to 11-5 overall and 7-5 in league play.
Along with Midkiff, whose previous career best was 29 points in a win at Erskine last year, senior forward McKenzie Owen added 28. Guard Briana Grier handed out a career-best 10 assists, while Midkiff added seven assists, four rebounds and a steal. She converted 10-22 from the floor, including 3-6 from three point range. 19 of her points came in the second half as the Crusaders outscored the Lions 48-41 in the final 20 minutes after trailing 38-36 at halftime.
Emmanuel built its two point halftime lead after overcoming a sluggish start, as the Crusaders bolted ahead 9-2 in the first 3:14. The Abbey held its advantage until the 9:44 mark when the Lions moved ahead for the first time at 16-14. The two teams would trade the lead for the next several minutes, until Emmanuel broke a 24-24 tie with a 14-5 run to zip ahead 38-29 with 1:51 to play, but Belmont Abbey scored the final seven points of the half to cut the deficit to 38-36 at halftime.
The halftime break did not stop the Abbey's momentum, as the Crusaders scored the first eight points of the half to surge ahead 43-38.
Belmont Abbey would stay in front until the 11:17 mark when the Lions moved ahead 57-56 and would build the lead to 77-68 with 2:55 to play, but they would only score two more points the rest of the way as the Abbey's offense came alive late as Emmanuel missed five of its last six shots in the game.
Midkiff started the 16-2 barrage with a pair of free throws and a three pointer. After another Lions miss, Caitlyn Ranson swished a three pointer with 2:01 showing to cut the deficit down to 77-76.
Emmanuel next trip came up empty, and Owen gave the Abbey a 78-77 lead with a running layup at the 1:20 mark.
Another Lions possession came up empty, and Owen stretched the lead to 80-77 with two free throws with 1:01 to go. After a missed Emmnauel jumper, Tajanna Brown boxed out her defender and converted a layup from a tough angle off of a pass from Midkiff to stretch the lead to 82-77.
Emmanuel closed the deficit to five with an Elise Coberly layup, but Midkiff punctuated the comeback with a pair of free throws with two seconds left.