Erskine outscored Belmont Abbey 21-16 in the fourth quarter after the Crusaders held a 58-56 lead after three to hold on and earn a 77-74 women's basketball victory this afternoon inside the Wheeler Center. Erskine moves to 2-8 overall and 2-3 in Conference Carolinas, while Belmont Abbey falls to 5-7 overall and 4-2 in the league.
The contest featured five ties and 17 lead changes as both team's largest leads were seven points each: Erskine at 31-24 with 6:35 remaining in the second quarter and Belmont Abbey at 55-48 with 2:37 to go in the game.
Belmont Abbey led 37-36 at the half and 58-56 after three quarters before the Flying Fleet made their move, outscoring the Crusaders 21-16 in the final ten minutes.
The Crusaders converted just two field goals in the final 3:47, missing three of its last four shots.
After Alex Busch extended the Crusaders lead to 65-59 with 7:41 to go, Erskine ran away on a 15-4 run to take a lead it would never lose again, surging ahead 74-69 with 3:25 to go, capped off by a Raygon Hendrix free throw with 26 seconds to play.
Belmont Abbey did not go away, as Gabrielle Bethel sank two free throws, the last of her 11 points to notch her seventh double double of the year, with 18 seconds to play. That came after she grabbed an offensive rebound and was immediately fouled.
Needing to foul, the Crusaders hacked Hendrix with 16 seconds left, who made the first but missed the second to give the Abbey a slim chance.
Eight seconds later, Larisa Bishop drained a three pointer to close the gap to one at 75-74.
The Crusaders fouled Hendrix again, who once more made the first and missed the second to stretch the Erskine lead to 76-74 with 5.6 showing.
Down to its last possession, the Crusaders surged ahead but a turnover and foul gave the ball back to Erskine with 0.4 left. Tyndell Mendenhall missed the first and made the second to seal the win.
Belmont Abbey shot 43 percent from the floor as Busch led the way with 18 points. Bethel added 11 points and 15 rebounds, with Briana Grier totaling 13 points and ten assists. Bishop contributed ten with Megan Weidenhamer posting career highs with seven points and nine rebounds.
The Crusaders are back in action tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. when it hosts Emmanuel.