FRANKLIN SPRINGS, Ga. – The Barton women's basketball team (24-5) saw its 10-game winning streak come to an end with a 77-69 setback to Belmont Abbey (21-9) in the 2019 Conference Carolinas Championship semifinals Thursday night at Williamson Arena.
The Bulldogs – the league regular season co-champions – entered the conference tournament as the second seed while the Crusaders were seeded third. Belmont Abbey advances to the league tournament finals to take on top-seeded Emmanuel (Ga.) (23-6) on Friday at 5:30 p.m. The Lions beat fourth-seeded Mount Olive (17-11) by a 77-64 score in their semifinal contest.
Belmont Abbey was led by Allie Downing (New Madison, Ohio) with 16 points while Maria Kuhlman (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) added 14 points as the Crusaders hit 22-of-25 free throw attempts and outscored Barton by a 20-11 margin in the decisive fourth period to take the win. Kuhlman also hit the game-winning free throws with 8:31 left in the contest to give the Crusaders a 61-60 advantage.
Barton was led by senior guard Dinah Neal (Browns Summit, N.C.) – who played all 40 minutes – with 16 points while junior guard Summer Baer (Fleming Island, Fla.) came off the bench to score 15 points in addition to four treys despite the loss.
Barton senior forward Kianna Wynn (Knightdale, N.C.) – a first-team all-league honoree and the team's leading scorer at 22.4 points per game – was limited to just nine points. The Bulldogs, usually a strong rebounding squad, was out-boarded by a 41-18 margin. Barton freshman forward Zanah Boyd (Cary, N.C.) did score a season-high 11 points in the losing effort.
The Bulldogs will await to see if it can earn a berth to the NCAA Division II Playoffs for the second straight year. The top eight squads from each region punch a ticket to the regional tournament (Barton is currently ranked No. 6 in the Southeast Region).