Belmont Abbey junior guard Larisa Bishop netted a career-high 29 points, 16 of those in the first half, but Erskine held off a late Crusaders charge to earn a 79-70 win this evening inside Belk Arena in Due West, South Carolina.
The Flying Fleet post a season sweep of the series as they improve to 10-9 overall and 9-4 in Conference Carolinas, while the Crusaders drop to 7-2 overall and 6-7 in the league.
The contest featured four ties and nine lead changes as the two teams battled neck-and-neck for most of the second half until Erskine pulled away late.
Belmont Abbey shot better from the field (40 percent) and from three point range (33 percent) than the hosts, but it was undone at the free throw line, converting just nine of 17, while Erskine was 20-25 from the line. The Fleet shot 38 percent from the field and 31 percent from three point range, but they made the shots in the fourth quarter to keep the Crusaders at bay.
The Abbey came to life late in the second quarter, scoring the last six points of the period to chop the Erskine lead down to 40-37 at the break.
Belmont Abbey grabbed the lead to start the third quarter, but Erskine countered with buckets of its own and then the two teams traded the lead for the next several minutes. Erskine, however, closed the third quarter on a 7-2 spurt to carry a tight 58-56 lead into the final ten minutes.
After the two teams traded baskets, the last coming on an Alex Busch jumper at the 6:34 mark that tied the game for the last time at 61, Erskine outscored the Crusaders 11-0 over the next 4:12 to move the lead to double figures.
Belmont Abbey could not get any closer than six, coming with 28 seconds to play, as Erskine hit three of four free throws in the final 21 seconds to seal the win.
Bishop's 28 points came on 11-17 shooting from the floor. Busch added 19 points and six rebounds.
The Crusaders are back in action Wedesday night at 5:30 as they host Pfeiffer.