Kimble, Neal lead Lady Bulldogs past Lenoir-Rhyne in season opener

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HICKORY — Behind the two-pronged assault of redshirt senior Alex Kimble and junior Dinah Neal, the Barton College women’s basketball team won it season opener, 65-56, over host Lenoir-Rhyne on Friday in the South Atlantic Conference/Conference Carolinas Challenge.

Kimble pumped in 26 points while Neal added 23 on 7-of-16 shooting from the floor to help the Lady Bulldogs overcome the absence of their top two scorers from last season, junior Kianna Wynn and senior Karimah Dean, who are out due to violation of team rules.

Barton led 32-21 at halftime with Kimble and Neal combining for 28 points. The Lady Bulldogs outscored Lenoir-Rhyne 15-2 over the final 3 minutes, 45 seconds of the second quarter.

The Bears came within a point twice in the fourth quarter, but Barton reeled off six straight points to go up 61-54 with 1:38 remaining. Senior Tatyana Jackson and Neal sank four straight free throws in the final 29 seconds to preserve the victory.

Madi Suddreth led Lenoir-Rhyne with 16 points.

The Lady Bulldogs will face Catawba in the second day of the Challenge on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. then welcome Coker for their home opener Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Wilson Gym.