by Benny Benton
HICKORY, N.C. – Redshirt senior Alex Kimble matched her career-high with 26 points and junior Dinah Neal shattered her career-high by adding 23 as Barton College downed Lenoir-Rhyne University, 65-56, on the road Friday night in the SAC/Conference Carolinas Challenge.
Freshman Shanika Peterkin added eight points, five rebounds and three blocked shots in her Barton debut. Senior Taura Jones and redshirt junior Alonna Terrell contributed a team-high six rebounds, while Kimble and Neal both joined Peterkin in collecting five.
The Lady Bulldogs shot just 33 percent from the field (23 of 70) in the contest, including 14 percent from 3-point range (2 of 14). However, Barton was strong at the free throw line, sinking 81 percent (17 of 21), and scored 30 points off 26 Lenoir-Rhyne turnovers.
Barton took care of the basketball, committing just 11 turnovers, and limited the Bears to 36 percent shooting from the floor (21 of 57).
Madi Suddreth paced L-R with 16 points and also chipped in seven rebounds.
A layup by Suddreth with 6:09 left in the second quarter put the Bears up 19-17, but the Lady Bulldogs closed out the half on a 15-2 run, with Kimble and Neal combining to score all 15 points for BC.
Jones scored the first basket of the second half to give Barton a 34-21 advantage, its largest lead of the night, but Lenoir-Rhyne's Kennedy Weigt drained three 3-pointers in a span of less than four minutes to rally the Bears. Lenoir-Rhyne made seven 3-pointers in total in the second half after recording just one in the opening period.
Lenoir-Rhyne climbed all the way back to within a point at 53-52 on a 3-pointer by Ashley Rodriguez with 5:50 remaining in the game, and the margin was still one point at 55-54 when Barton went on a 6-0 run, getting layups from Kimble, Neal and Peterkin over a three-minute span.
The Bears missed four straight shots during that key spurt before finally ending the scoreless stretch on a pair of free throws with 1:36 to play to pull back within five at 61-56. Barton missed its next shot, but kept possession and ran the clock all the way down to 29 seconds before Tatyana Jackson was fouled and made two free throws.
Neal, whose previous career-high was 15 points, tacked on two final free throws with nine seconds to play, providing the final margin of nine and giving the Browns Summit, N.C., resident the new career-high of 23.
The 26-point night for Kimble, a resident of Virginia Beach, Va., matched her high previously set against Converse in the 2015-16 season.
On Saturday at 4:30 p.m., the Lady Bulldogs will square off against Catawba College, which downed University of Mount Olive, 94-81, on Friday. The Indians drained 12 3-pointers in the victory over UMO.