The ninth-ranked Limestone women's basketball team rallied back from a 26 point deficit with 2:32 to go in the first half as the Saints outscored Belmont Abbey 45-23 in the final twenty minutes to earn a 68-63 victory this evening inside the Wheeler Center. Limestone improves to 11-1 overall and 6-0 in Conference Carolinas, while the Abbey suffers its third straight loss, falling to 8-5 overall and 4-3 in Conference Carolinas.
The Crusaders appeared to end the game at halftime, as it surged to a commanding 40-14 lead with 2:32 to play in the opening stanza.
After Limestone scored the first three points of the game, Belmont Abbey ran away with the game as it opened up a 26 point lead with 2:32 to go.
Limestone, however, began its comeback as its shooting, which had been at a 17.1 percent clip to that point, scored the final nine points of the half, all from three-point range, to chop the Abbey's lead to 17 at 40-23 at the break.
Belmont Abbey shot 53 percent from the field, while the Saints output climbed to 23 percent, thanks to their final three baskets of the half.
Morgan Midkiff, who finished with a game-high 21 points, netted nine in the first half, as did McKenzie Owen. The Crusaders attempted nine three pointers, converting five as they held a comfortable lead at halftime.
The second half was a different story, as it was Limestone that shot well and the Abbey struggled to find offense. The Saints outscored the Crusaders 45-23 in the final 20 minutes as they converted 42 percent of their shots.
Limestone opened the half on a 20-4 run to deadlock the game at 44 with 13:13 to go. Tajanna Brown gave the Crusaders the lead with a free throw and Owen stretched it to three with two more free throws.
The two teams traded baskets, and then Limestone scored the next 11 unanswered points to take a lead it would never lose again.
The 11-0 surge pushed the Saints lead to 57-49 with 4:58 to play, but the Abbey clawed back with a 9-4 run to pull within 61-58 with 2:04 to go.
Jasmine Kearse pushed the lead back to five with a jumper, but the Crusaders countered by scoring the next three points, to trim their deficit to just two at 63-61 with 29 seconds left.
The Abbey was forced to foul, and Limestone sank four of five free throws in the final 23 seconds. Brown gave the Abbey one last hope with a layup at the 15 second mark to cut the Saints edge to 65-63, but Limestone converted three of four free throws in the final 15 seconds to seal the win.
Midkiff led all scorers with 21 points on 9-19 shooting from the field. She added six rebounds and two assists. Owen netted 15 on 5-10 shooting with five rebounds and two blocked shots.
Belmont Abbey shot 47 percent from the field, including 46 percent from three-point range, but sank just nine of 17 from the free throw line.