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A seven-point lead in the third quarter for the Barton College women’s basketball team dissipated like smoke in the aftermath of a long-range arsenal by visiting Belmont Abbey in Wednesday’s NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas opener for both teams in Wilson Gym.
The Lady Bulldogs, 3-4 overall, simply fell apart in the third quarter as the Crusaders (3-3, 1-0 CC) unloaded from 3-point range, connecting on 7 of their 14 treys in the game. Belmont Abbey turned a 47-40 deficit with 5:39 to play in the third quarter into a 60-46 lead by the end of the period.
Maria Kuhlman, who had three 3-pointers in that stretch, finished with 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc as the Crusaders, who made just 39.3 percent (24 of 61) of all field-goal attempts, shot a deadly 53.8 percent (14 of 26) from long range for the game.
Barton, which led 36-33 at the half, made just 7 of 35 from 3-point land and connected on just 8 of 34 field-goal attempts in the second half. In addition, the Lady Bulldogs were overwhelmed on the backboards as Abbey commanded a 55-39 rebounding advantage.
Abbey led 20-12 after the first quarter but the Lady Bulldogs battled back during the second. Redshirt senior Alex Kimble capped an 11-0 Barton run with a 3-pointer at the 1:25 mark to send the Lady Bulldogs to a 34-30 lead. Barton led 40-33 when Dinah Neal made one of her two foul shots with less than a minute gone in the third quarter, but Abbey made its next eight shots from the floor and the Lady Bulldogs connected on just 2 of 15 during that time.
Abbey’s lead swelled to as many 19 points in the fourth quarter. Allie Downing, who had two 3-pointers during that key stretch in the third quarter, had 12 points for Abbey, which had six different players make at least one 3-pointer. Kuhlman had a game-high 11 rebounds as well.
Kimble’s 16 points led Barton but they came on 6-of-23 shooting. Taura Jones had 12 points and Alonna Terrell added 11 points.
Barton continues its homestand Saturday with a 2 p.m. tip-off against Erskine College in Wilson Gym.