Ending the year strong

Lady Bulldogs close 2018 with blowout win over Converse

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The Barton College women’s basketball team didn’t have too much trouble securing its 10th victory of the season in its final game of 2018 Monday night, responding to its only deficit within the opening minute and pulling away for a 79-58 victory over Converse College inside Wilson Gym.

Barton, which won its second straight game following its only two losses of the year to date, moved to 10-2 overall and 3-2 within NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas. Converse fell to 5-4 in all games, 1-4 within the conference.

“The first half, we played pretty well and were pretty consistent,” veteran Barton head coach Wendee Saintsing said. “The second half, we had a couple of breakdowns defensively. All in all, it was a good team win, and we were able to get everybody in the game.”

Senior forward Kianna Wynn, coming off a career-high 38 points in Saturday’s victory over Erskine, secured another double-double versus Converse. Wynn had 24 points and 13 rebounds as her fellow post player, sophomore Shanika Peterkin, also flourished.

Peterkin tallied a double-double of her own, getting 13 points and 13 rebounds, while blocking four shots. Peterkin’s 54 blocks lead Conference Carolinas, and for the moment, has her as the leading shot blocker in all of Division II women’s basketball.

The Lady Bulldogs converted 31 of 77 shots for 40.3 percent accuracy, while holding the Valkyries to an 18-for-55 showing, good for just 32.7 percent. Barton owned a 48-39 advantage on the backboards and forced Converse into 25 turnovers. Eleven Barton players had at least one assist in the victory, with senior Dinah Neal and freshman Akira Wiggins getting four assists each.

Wynn had three, while senior transfer Carmen Richardson added three more off the bench.

Barton kept Converse at bay following the midpoint of the opening quarter. The Lady Bulldogs led 5-4 early, but an 8-0 run, culminated by Wynn’s layup, put the hosts up nine. Once Wiggins hit a 3-pointer with 1:35 left in the opening quarter, the Lady Bulldogs assumed a double-digit lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Leading 22-12 after one quarter, Barton went up 38-18 on freshman Zanah Boyd’s layup. 

The Lady Bulldogs led 42-26 at halftime and witnessed the Valkyries attempt to send the lead below double digits again. Dominique Hill’s 3-pointer pulled Converse to within 48-38 with 5:13 left in the quarter, but consecutive layups from Boyd finished off a 9-0 spurt that sent Barton up by 19 at 57-38. The lead reached as many as 23 on Richardson’s jumper with 9:05 remaining.

Barton will wrap up its eight-game homestand once it returns from break, hosting Lees-McRae on Wednesday, January 2.

“If you were going to tell us we would be 10-2 at this point, I don’t know if I would have agreed with that!” Saintsing said. “I’m pleased with where we are. It’s unfortunate the two losses are conference games, but we had an opportunity to win both of those games. We know we can come back and get a couple of wins on the road.”