LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN -- The Covenant women's basketball team overcame a third quarter deficit and outscored visiting Belhaven 27-14 in the final 10 minutes to gain a 76-68 victory on Tuesday evening inside Barnes PE Center.
The win is Covenant's third in the last four games and moves the overall record back to .500 at 4-4. Belhaven remains winless at 0-10 on the year.
Covenant led 37-32 at halftime, but Belhaven surged ahead in the third after outscoring the Scots 22-12 in the period. Entering the fourth down 54-49, the Scots would see the deficit extend to seven at 59-52 with eight minutes left. A 17-5 run over the next six-and-a-half minutes gave the Scots a 69-64 lead after two Bekah Walter free throws with 1:26 remaining. Walter had six points during the stretch and Joanna Smith produced back-to-back baskets to give the Scots a lead they would not relinquish.
After Belhaven answered with a 3-pointer to cut the margin to three, 69-66, Kaley Hallmark followed with her fifth 3-point basket of the night to extend the Covenant lead back to six at 72-66 with 39 seconds remaining. Walter would make four free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
Hallmark finished with a team-best 19 points, on 7-of-8 shooting, to go with six rebounds and four assists. Walter added 17 points, four assists, and was a perfect 8-of-8 at the line. Grimes had 15 points, while Jessica Bell had 12 points and seven rebounds. Smith just missed a double-double as she collected 12 rebounds with eight points and three assists.
Covenant shot 42.9 percent (27-of-63) from the field and had a season-high 18 assists. The Scots also made 10 3-pointers, tying a season-high.
The Scots were able to build a 37-32 lead at the half after shooting 42 percent over the first two periods. Hallmark had 16 points in the opening half and was 6-of-6 from the field. Covenant led by as many as 12 in the half as two Walter free throws upped the lead to 35-23 with 3:55 left in the second quarter. Belhaven finished the period on a 9-2 run to get within five at the break.
Brittany Ford’s 20 points and six 3-pointers led the visiting Blazers. Lauren Brooks had a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Kayla Smothers had 10 points. AaLiyaha Thornton added eight points, eight assists, and five rebounds.
Belhaven shot 35.2 percent (25-of-72) from the floor with seven 3-pointers. The Blazers outscored Covenant's bench 33-5 on the day, with Brooks contributing 20 of those points.
Covenant will be off for 10 days for Christmas before playing again on Friday, Dec. 29 against Centre, as part of the Sewanee Holiday Classic. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. EST in Sewanee, Tenn.
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