Belmont, N.C. - Holli Flippo started off her senior campaign in style with a game high 23 points and Micheala Watkins picked up where she left off last season with seven steals as the Tornados overcame Paula Regaldo’s double-double to open the 2011-2012 season with a 73-55 victory over Belmont Abbey Saturday evening in the Wheeler Center.
The Tornados (1-0) took the lead for good early in the second half on a jumper by Flippo as Brevard shot 60.0 percent (18-30) from the floor in the final 20 minutes of the contest and the BC defense forced 18 Belmont Abbey (0-1) turnovers in the final period as Brevard downed the Crusaders for the second time in three years under head coach Shannon Reid.
Flippo was 8-for-12 from the floor in the contest, 5-for-5 in the second half in leading the Tornados with a career high 23 points, breaking her record of 21 set on Jan. 17, 2009 against Wingate University. Micheala Watkins was also in double-digits with 16 points and the 2011 SAC steals leader sent a message to the league stating she was ready to defend her title in leading the Tornados with seven steals as Brevard recorded 17 thefts from the Belmont Abbey offense. Anna Schlobohm was also in double-digits for the Tornados with 13 points on 6-for-8 shooting and added four steals to open the season.
Regalado led the Crusaders on the day with 16 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, six offensive, to lead all players on the court. Caitlyn Ranson was also in double figures for Belmont Abbey with 11 points, connecting on two of Abbey’s three three-pointers in the game as the Crusaders fell in their home opener.
Alyssa Cutshaw hit the first basket of the 2011-2012 season, drilling a three-pointer off a Watkins assist and Schlobohm followed with a jumper to put Brevard up 5-0 as the Tornados pressed the advantage early in the contest, going up by 11 at 23-12 on a Watkins layup with 9:31 to play in the first half.
A layup by Noel Bullock stemmed the Brevard run and after Lindsay Brendle answered with a layup off the assist from Asheley Watkins, the Crusaders went on a 13-0 run helped by seven made free throws and a Bullock three-pointer to put Belmont Abbey up 28-25 with four minutes to play in the half.
The Tornados battled back, tying it up at 28 on a pair of free throws by Flippo, but a three-point play by Kelsey Long offset a Flippo layup at the buzzer to give Crusaders the 31-30 advantage at the break.
Schlobohm gave the Tornados the early lead in the second half, hitting a jumper at the 19:00 mark to put BC up 32-2. Following a free throw by Regalado to tie the game up for the third and final time, Brevard responded with a 22-6 run, capped by a three-pointer by Schlobohm to give the Tornados the 54-38 advantage with 11:06 to play.
Belmont Abbey continued to fight back, cutting the lead down to 11 points at the 6:56 mark after a three-point play by Regalado and a Ranson three-pointer, but back-to-back baskets by Flippo sparked a 14-3 run, capped by Lacey Singletary’s first collegiate basket to give the Tornados their largest lead of the game at 73-51 with 1:14 left in the game as Brevard closed out the season opening 73-55 win in the Wheeler Center.
Candice Fritz and Flippo led Brevard with six rebounds apiece, but thanks to Regalado’s efforts on the boards, Belmont Abbey held the 36-27 advantage on the glass. The Tornados offset their rebounding disadvantage in forcing 30 Crusaders turnovers against 15 of their own in the victory.
Brevard remains on the road as they remain in non-conference action as they travel to take on Conference Carolinas opponent Erskine College on Monday, November 14th in Due West, S.C. Tipoff in Belk Arena is set for 5:30 p.m.