GAFFNEY, S.C. – In postseason play teams expect all the games to be tight, and the King University women’s basketball team earned a tough win in the fourth quarter of the Conference Carolinas Tournament semifinal against the University of Mount Olive. The third seed Tornado out scored second seeded Mount Olive in the fourth quarter 19-15 to take the contest 74-70, and earn their first trip to the Conference Carolinas championship game.
FINAL SCORE: King 74, Mount Olive 70
LOCATION: Timken Center; Gaffney, S.C.
RECORDS: King 19-11; Mount Olive 19-11
HOW IT HAPPENED
-Mount Olive started fast, but the Tornado weathered the storm and fought their way back to even at 9-9 as they went on a run.
-King went on a 7-0 run to open up a 16-9 lead midway through the first quarter. Ashley Albertson started the spurt with a bucket and Arnelle Collins added a pair of free throws before Amy Van Deventer capped the spurt with a three-point play.
-The Tornado then led 17-11 before Mount Olive closed the first quarter on a 6-0 run to make the score 17-17 after the first quarter.
-Collins started the second stanza with consecutive layups and Albertson capped a 6-0 run with another two minutes in.
-With King leading 23-17 following that initial surge, the Trojans answered with a 13-2 run, capped by seven straight points to open up a 30-25 lead.
-Albertson and Harper got the Tornado back on the board with consecutive triples before Sheena Johnson connected from long range with six seconds left in the half, making the score at the break 35-34 in favor of the Trojans.
-The third quarter might have been the tightest frame of the night with five ties and three lead changes.
-King opened up a three point lead on numerous occasions, but the Trojans had an answer each time.
-Mount Olive grabbed a 54-52 lead, but Johnson drilled a trifecta to put King back ahead.
-The Trojans closed the half making one-of-three free throws, evening the contest at 55-55 with one stanza remaining.
-Albertson evened the score for the 11th time when she made a jump shot, knotting the tally up at 57-57.
-That bucket started a 7-0 run for King that gave the Tornado the upper hand down the stretch.
-Whitney Mitchell hit a pair of free throws on the fun and Johnson capped the spurt with a jump shot with four minutes remaining.
-The Trojans came back to get within three at 67-64 with 1:05 remaining, but King iced the win at the free throw line in the final minute.
-King made seven straight free throws and went 7-for-9 from the free throw line in the final minute, taking the 74-70 victory.
-Albertson led King with 20 points and six rebounds while Johnson added 14 points, going 3-for-3 from long range.
-Harper followed with 13 points and nine rebounds.
-Mitchell handed out six assists to go along with nine points while Collins added nine points.
FOR THE FOES
-Mount Olive out rebounded King 47-34, but King balanced the scale, scoring 17 points off turnovers and going 20-for-29 at the free throw line while Mount Olive went 6-for-12 at the charity stripe.
-Ni’ya Styles led the Trojans with 26 points.
-Felicity Havens posted a double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 boards.
-Arieal Johnson added eight points and snared nine rebounds.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
-King only committed eight turnovers in the contest, marking the seventh time this season the Tornado have had less than 10 turnovers in a game, including the second straight game.
-All seven of those occasions have come over the last 12 games for the Tornado.
-With the win, King advances to the Conference Carolinas Tournament championship game for the first time in school history.
-Prior to this year, the Tornado only had one win in the Conference Carolinas Tournament, this year King has two wins.
-King faces the top seed Limestone College on their home floor for the tournament championship on Friday night at 7:00 p.m.
-The Saints are 29-0 on the season and they are ranked second in the latest Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) poll.
-The teams squared off just a week ago at Limestone in the regular season finale, with the Saints taking a 70-61 victory.
-Limestone also defeated King 66-64 on February 13 in Bristol.
-The winner of the contest will earn Conference Carolinas’ automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship.