University of Mount Olive led by as many as eight points in the first half, but Belmont Abbey College rallied for a 74-60 victory over the Trojans in Conference Carolinas women's basketball Saturday at Belmont, N.C. Leah Graham scored a career-high 24 points for the Trojans.
Mount Olive (10-15 overall, 8-11 Conference Carolinas) fell behind 11-2, but Graham scored six consecutive points to give the Trojans their first lead of the game at 17-15 with 7:47 left in the first half. Graham converted a three-point play and capped an 11-3 run with a pair of free throws as the Trojans built a 30-22 advantage with 2:59 remaining before halftime.
Belmont Abbey (16-9, 12-7) used Morgan Midkiff's three-pointer to end Mount Olive's run and start a 7-0 run of its own to make it a one-point game. Kiara Jones' putback with 12 seconds left gave the Trojans a 32-29 halftime lead.
Mount Olive led by as many as five points in the second half, but a four-minute scoring midway through the half allowed Belmont Abbey to take the lead for good. The Crusaders scored 12 unanswered points and went on to build a 20-point lead at 69-49 with 3:53 remaining. The margin grew to 21 points and never fell below 12 points the rest of the way.
Gabrielle Bethel led four Belmont Abbey players in double figures and recorded a double-double with game highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Mount Olive returns to action Thursday as the Trojans play host to Emmanuel in a Conference Carolinas match-up. Tip-off is 5:30 p.m. at Kornegay Arena.