by Doug Page
BELMONT, N.C. – Wednesday night's Conference Carolinas matchup between two of the top teams in the league went right down to the wire. The Barton College women's basketball team got a three-pointer from redshirt senior Alex Kimble with 1:55 left in the fourth quarter to give the Lady Bulldogs a 62-61 win over the Belmont Abbey Crusaders.
The Lady Bulldogs (18-6, 13-3) outscored Belmont Abbey 14-9 in the fourth quarter, shooting 54.5 percent from the field and draining a pair of three's. The Crusaders (16-7, 13-3) held a 52-48 lead through three-quarters of play and connected on five first-half three-pointers but cooled off with time winding down in the contest.
Kimble finished the contest with 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting and a 4-for-5 effort from downtown to lead the Lady Bulldogs. Kimble hit a pair of three's in both the second and fourth quarters for BC. Junior Kianna Wynn, who didn't suit up for the Lady Bulldogs in the first meeting between the two sides, dropped 16 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Wynn tallied a double-double for BC by pulling down 15 boards in the contest. Senior Karimah Dean added 12 points off the bench for the Lady Bulldogs to go along with five rebounds. Dean also missed the first meeting between the two and played 19 minutes for Barton. Senior Tatyana Jackson tallied a game-high six helpers while adding seven points for BC. Freshman Shanika Peterkin filled up the stat sheet for the Lady Bulldogs with six points, nine rebounds, six blocks, and two steals.
Allie Downing was the only Crusader to hit double digits on the night, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds to go along with three assists. Emry Tsitouris tallied nine points and seven boards for Belmont Abbey, while Keyanna Spivey added seven points and four rebounds. Four different Crusaders scored six points in the contest as Belmont Abbey received 16 points from its bench.
Barton scored the opening four points of the night to take an early lead as Peterkin and junior Dinah Neal recorded back-to-back layups for the Lady Bulldogs. Downing answered with one of her three treys on the night to cut the deficit to 4-3 with 6:15 left in the quarter. Following a layup by Tsitouris that trimmed the BC lead to 6-5, Wynn hit a jumper to put the Lady Bulldogs back on top 8-5. Trailing 10-9, The Crusaders made a push to take the momentum back from Barton as Hannah Roney drained a three to give her team a 12-10 lead with 3:09 left in the quarter.
Roney capped-off the 8-0 run for the Crusaders by hitting another three to make it 15-10 Belmont Abbey. Dean ended the run by making a layup before Downing answered to up the Crusaders' lead to 17-12. With less than a minute remaining in the quarter Downing drained the fourth shot from downtown by Belmont Abbey to up the advantage to 20-12. Wynn hit the final bucket of the quarter for BC with eight ticks left on the clock to cut the deficit to 20-14.
Taylor Gittings gave the Crusaders an eight-point edge with a layup off an offensive board to make it 26-18. Going more than two minutes without a bucket, Dean hit a jumper to pull BC within six points on the scoreboard. The Lady Bulldogs rallied to cut the Belmont Abbey lead to 27-24 with 5:44 remaining in the quarter as Wynn took a pass from Neal in the paint. The Crusaders responded by going on a 5-0 run to put the lead back to eight points with 4:29 left.
Connecting on back-to-back three's Kimble took it upon herself to knot the score at 32-32. Wynn followed by giving the Lady Bulldogs a 34-32 lead with 2:41 left in the half. Both sides traded buckets as Peterkin made it 36-34 with 1:37 remaining only to see Tsitouris hit a layup to knot the score just 17 seconds later. The teams would enter the half tied 36-36 as Wynn and Dean each crossed into double digits in scoring for BC.
Barton held several leads in the third quarter but was unable to keep those leads as Belmont Abbey had an answer each time the Lady Bulldogs seemed poised to go on a run. Peterkin tied the contest at 48-48 with 1:43 left in the quarter off an assist from Jackson. The Crusaders tallied the final four points of the quarter as Spivey made a layup followed by a jumper from Gittings with five seconds left to make it 52-48.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Kimble quickly pulled BC to within a point of Belmont Abbey by hitting her third trey of the night to make it 52-51. The Crusaders would stretch their lead to as many as three points with Barton answering several times to trim the deficit to a single point. Jackson changed the tide for BC with a jump shot that gave the Lady Bulldogs a 57-56 advantage with 7:07 remaining.
Trailing 59-57, a 4-0 run by the Crusaders gave them a 61-59 lead as Downing connected on a jumper off an assist from Hines. Over the next 2:50 of playing time both sides struggled to change the momentum in the contest as Barton missed both of its opportunities from the floor while the Crusaders missed three-straight shots. Barton called a 30-second timeout with 1:59 left in the contest and trailing by two points. Kimble would answer the call for the Lady Bulldogs just four seconds later as she took a feed from Neal and tickled the twine to put BC on top 62-61. Belmont Abbey, needing just one bucket to win the contest or a chance at the free-throw line to extend the game, went the final 4:45 without a point.
Barton shot 44.3 percent (27-of-61) in the game and 30 percent (4-of-13) from downtown, while the Crusaders shot 37.1 percent (23-of-62) in the game and 31.8 percent (7-of-22) from downtown. The Lady Bulldogs went 6-of-11 from the field in the fourth quarter, while Belmont Abbey went 4-of-15 from the field. Barton held a 40-33 advantage in rebounds and outscored the Crusaders 32-22 inside the paint.
The Lady Bulldogs have the next seven days off until they head to Due West, S.C. for a 5:30 p.m. matchup against the Erskine Flying Fleet on Feb. 14. BC then heads to Gaffney, S.C. for a matchup with the Limestone Saints on Feb. 17.