The Belmont Abbey women's basketball team shot a season-high 56 percent from the field as senior forward McKenzie Owen led all scorers with 20 points as the Crusaders extended their winning streak to seven with an easy 72-57 victory over the visiting Converse College Valkyries this evening. Belmont Abbey improves to 15-8 overall and 11-6 in Conference Carolinas, while Converse falls to 2-17 overall and 1-15 in league play.
Belmont Abbey never trailed after being down 7-5 three minutes into the game as the Crusaders built a 43-25 halftime lead on the strength of 57 percent shooting from the floor.
Gabrielle Bethel, who finished with 15 points, netted 11 in the first half as she made all four of her field goal attempts and swished three of four from the free throw line. The Crusaders forced 11 turnovers and limited Converse to 30 percent shooting from the field.
Caitlyn Ranson gave the Crusaders their largest lead of the game with a three pointer at the 1:21 mark of first half, which extended the lead to 19 at 43-24. Her basket capped a 27-11 run that effectively ended the game.
The Crusaders outscored Converse 32-29 in the second half but the Valkyries never cut their deficit to any fewer than 11 points. Owen scored 12 of her points in the second half on four of five shooting.
For the game, Owen netted 20 points on 8-11 shooting with two assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Bethel added 15 points, nine rebounds and a blocked shot. Briana Grier and Morgan Midkiff both handed out five assists as 20 of the Abbey's 25 baskets were assisted.
The Crusaders are back in action Wednesday night at 5:30 when they go on the road to face the fourth-ranked Limestone Saints.