BELMONT, N.C. - Freshman Maria Kuhlman scored 20 points against Emmanuel College (Ga.) to help Belmont Abbey to a 76-59 victory in this afternoon's REDucation Game. The win improves the Crusaders' record to 9-4 on the season and 6-0 in Conference Carolinas play. The Lions dipped to 7-5 on the year, with a 2-4 conference record.
The Crusaders made back-to-back 3-pointers in their first two possessions of the game. A 6-0 run, capped by two Taylor Gittings free throws, put The Abbey in front 18-11. Belmont Abbey owned an 18-13 lead at the end of the quarter. Kuhlman scored each of the first six Abbey points of the second. This began a 14-0 run over the first 7:06 of the quarter. The defensive unit only surrendered five Emmanuel points in the period, which ended with a jumper by senior Briana Grier and a 37-18 Belmont Abbey lead at halftime.
After struggling to score in the opening minutes of the second half, Irelynn Davisson and Caroline Tomey gave The Abbey back-to-back 3-pointers for a 44-35 edge. Then Kuhlman and Allie Downing combined for three 3-pointers in the last 1:39 of the period to put the Crusaders on top 53-39 heading into the final quarter.
Belmont Abbey went on an 11-2 run to open the fourth. During that stretch, Davisson nailed two 3-point shots. The defense continued its excellent performance, and The Abbey finished the day with the 76-59 win.
On the day, Kuhlman led The Abbey's efforts with 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting, including 5-for-7 from 3-point range. Davisson finished with nine points while Emry Tsitouris and Keyanna Spivey each grabbed eight rebounds. The defense only allowed Emmanuel to make five 3-pointers for the game.
Belmont Abbey will be back in action tomorrow, when it welcomes Erskine College to the Wheeler Center for a 2 p.m. contest.