by Doug Page
WILSON, N.C. – The Barton College women's basketball team rebounded to take a 36-33 halftime lead after a sluggish start against Belmont Abbey College on Wednesday night, but a huge third quarter for the Crusaders propelled them past the Lady Bulldogs, 77-62, in Conference Carolinas action.
The Lady Bulldogs (3-4, 0-1) had a tough time behind the arc, going 7-for-35 and 24-of-75 from the field. Belmont Abbey (3-3, 1-0) drained 14 three-pointers on the night, including a 7-for-14 performance from Maria Kuhlman.
Redshirt senior Alex Kimble finished the game with a team-high 16 points on 6-of-23 shooting from the field, while senior Taura Jones added 12 points for the Lady Bulldogs on 5-of-15 shooting from the floor and a team-high seven rebounds. Redshirt junior Alonna Terrell went 3-of-4 from the floor and 5-of-7 at the free-throw line to finish with 11 points for the Bulldogs.
The Crusaders were led by Kuhlman's game-high 23-point performance and 11 rebounds. Kuhlman also tallied a game-high five assists on the night, while Allie Downing added 12 points, seven rebounds, and one block for Belmont Abbey.
Belmont Abbey struggled from downtown in the first quarter, hitting just 2-of-7 attempts but saw BC have its own difficulties as Barton went 2-of-9 from three-point range. The early advantage for the Crusaders came in the rebounding category and at the charity stripe as BAC went 4-for-4 at the line.
Trailing 20-12 to start the second quarter, Barton found its rhythm from inside the arc. BC would shoot 47.8 percent from the field in the quarter after connecting on 27.8 percent of its shots to start the game. Despite the three-point struggles for BC in the quarter they would be able to maintain the lead as Belmont Abbey went just 5-of-18 from the field, but kept things close by draining 3-of-6 three-pointers.
Leading 31-30 with 1:58 remaining in the quarter, Kimble hit a three for the Lady Bulldogs to give them a four-point cushion. Belmont Abbey's Irelynn Davisson would answer with a trey of her own to pull the Crusaders back within a point with 46 seconds left on the clock. Terrell responded for Barton with a jumper in the paint to make it 36-33 with 29 seconds remaining. That score would hold as both sides missed a pair of last-second opportunities before time ran out on the clock.
Barton out-scored the Crusaders 18-4 in the paint in the second quarter while recording seven points on second-chance opportunities.
Kuhlman and the Crusaders quickly took control of the game in the third quarter as the three-ball fell almost at will for the visitors. Belmont Abbey connected on seven of the eight threes that it attempted in the quarter, while also going 8-of-12 from the field. The quick-fire offense from BAC allowed them to pull away from the Lady Bulldogs, who shot 3-for-16 from the field and 2-of-9 from downtown.
Barton saw its seven-point lead (40-33) with 9:14 remaining in the quarter trimmed to just two as Kuhlman drained a three to make it 40-38 BC. Another trey by the Crusaders would give them the 41-40 lead with 7:37 left. Six of the first seven shots that would fall for BAC in the quarter came from downtown as the Crusaders upped their lead to 53-43 with 4:18 remaining.
The Lady Bulldogs looked to rally with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter as BC trimmed an 18-point BAC lead down to nine with 2:09 left to play. Kimble would trim the deficit to single-digits by connecting on a trey off an assist from Jones.
Belmont Abbey closed the game on a 6-0 run as BC missed on each of its next four shots, allowing the Crusaders to secure the 77-62 victory.
The Lady Bulldogs went 24-of-75 from the field in the contest and 7-of-12 from the free-throw line, while BAC went 24-of-61 from the floor and 15-of-20 from the charity stripe. The Crusaders out-rebounded the Lady Bulldogs 55-39 but were forced into 19 turnovers compared to 10 for Barton. Both teams recorded three blocks on the night as BC freshman Shanika Peterkin tallied all three for the home side.
Barton continues its four-game homestand by hosting Erskine College in a Conference Carolinas matchup on Saturday at 2 p.m. inside the Wilson Gym.