The Belmont Abbey women's basketball team opened the 2015-16 season with an 87-56 loss to Newberry this evening inside the Timken Center on the campus of Limestone College in the opening game of the Conference Carolinas/SAC Challenge.
Playing under the four quarter format, which was instituted this season, Belmont Abbey never led in the contest as the Wolves netted the first six points of the game, which started an 11-4 run through the first four minutes of the opening quarter. Newberry built a 22-16 first quarter lead as it shot 40 percent from the floor, but not before the Crusaders cut the deficit to 17-14 on a pair of Morgan Midkiff free throws with 1:46 to play. Newberry responded by scoring five of the final seven points of period to take a six point lead.
The Wolves hot shooting continued in the second ten minute period, converting eight of its 18 field goals to stretch its lead to 53-31 at halftime. Newberry opened the second on a 10-2 burst that moved its lead to 32-18 with 7:14 to go in the half and the Wolves would continue their strong play to surge ahead by 22 at the break.
A low scoring third period saw the two teams combine for 30 points as the Wolves outscored the Crusaders 16-14, but the Abbey could not crack Newberry's lead into single digits as Newberry scored the final eight points of the period to lead 69-45 entering the final quarter.
The fourth quarter was again low scoring, with the Wolves outscoring the Crusaders 18-11.
Belmont Abbey made just three of 15 from the floor, and Newberry was not much better, sinking seven of 15, but its double digit lead remained for the rest of the contest as the Wolves earned an 87-56 victory.
Belmont Abbey shot 33 percent from the field (21-63) as Gabrielle Bethel led the way with 16 points on a perfect shooting night, converting all seven field goal attempts and both of her free throws. Alex Busch came off the bench to record her first career double double, scoring 13 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Bethel added eight rebounds with Taylor Johnson securing six.
Belmont Abbey takes the floor again Saturday at 5:30 when it closes out the Challenge with a matchup against Coker from the Timken Center.