The Belmont Abbey women's basketball team shot 54 percent from the floor as sophomore guard Alex Busch led all scorers with a career-high 23 points with Gabrielle Bethel adding 16 points and 15 rebounds in a convincing 81-62 victory at Lees-McRae this evening. Belmont Abbey evens its record to 3-3 overall and moves to 2-0 in Conference Carolinas, while the Bobcats drop to 0-6 overall and 0-2 in the league.
Belmont Abbey, which led by as many as 28 points, converted 34-63 from the field as Busch scored 23 points on 11-15 shooting from the floor. Briana Grier added 17 points on 7-8 shooting from the floor with six assists, and Bethel netted 16 on 6-7 shooting with 15 rebounds and a steal.
The Bobcats opened the game on an 8-2 run for their highest lead of the contest just 1:20 into the game, but Belmont Abbey scored the next ten points in succession to take the lead for good.
Lees-McRae, which scored eight points in the first 1:20 of the first, only scored seven more the rest of the quarter as the Crusaders made half of their shots (10-20) while the Bobcats made just six of 18 as Belmont Abbey led 25-15 after one.
The hosts scored the first three points of the second quarter to close the Abbey's lead down to seven, but just like the first quarter, Belmont Abbey came right back with an offensive burst, this time using a 12-0 surge over the course of 4:30 to widen the lead to 37-18. Belmont Abbey moved its lead to 47-29 at the break as it shot a torrid 60 percent from the field in the period.
After Lees-McRae outscored the Crusaders 21-19 in the third, Belmont Abbey closed the game outscoring the Bobcats 16-11 in the fourth as Busch gave the Crusaders their largest lead of the game, 28 points, at 80-52 with 3:15 to go. The Bobcats scored eight of the game's final ten points to close the scoring.
Along with the hot shooting from the floor, Belmont Abbey sank eight of nine from the free throw line and won the rebounding battle 48-30 as Bethel logged her fourth double double in six games.
Belmont Abbey takes the floor again Saturday at 5:30 when it travels to Georgia College.