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The team to beat in the NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas women’s basketball for much of the last decade has been Limestone College and Barton College has done its sharing of trying to topple the Saints.
Tuesday night in Wilson Gym, the Lady Bulldogs did just that, beating Limestone 70-49 and ending a 10-game losing streak to the Saints, who have won six straight conference regular-season championships, that dated back to 2012. The win pushed Barton’s record to 16-6 overall and 11-3 in Conference Carolinas play, just a game behind Limestone and Belmont Abbey. The Saints (17-4, 12-2) fell back into a tie for first with the Crusaders, who beat last-place Lees-McRae on Tuesday.
“We haven’t played well at home against Limestone in a long time. We usually play well down there,” Barton head coach Wendee Saintsing said. “Most of our losses (against Limestone) have been by one or two points and we were finally able to pull one out. It felt really good for this group to do that.”
With redshirt senior guard Alex Kimble managing just six points on a pair of 3-pointers, well below her season average of 18 points per game, senior point guard Tatyana Jackson picked up Barton’s scoring slack. Jackson hit four 3-pointers on her way to a season-high 20 points.
“She had a really good game and shot the ball well,” Saintsing said of Jackson, who was 8 of 16 from the floor. “That really helped us out a lot. Alex struggled for the first two quarters and then came around a little bit.”
Jackson keyed a 12-2 run to start the third quarter that saw Barton open its lead from 35-31 at halftime to double digits, where it remained the rest of the game. Jackson nailed a 3-point attempt to start the quarter, then hit a pair of jumpers before Kimble’s trey finished the spurt at the 5:50 mark.
Limestone, which shot 30.9 percent (21 of 68), was just 2 of 16 in the decisive third quarter. The 49 points was the Saints’ second-lowest output of the season, trailing only their 68-38 loss at Div. I Liberty on Nov. 28.
“We had a great third quarter. It was a great defensive effort and forced them to take some poor shots,” Saintsing said. “We were just putting pressure on their shooters. We didn’t do a great job on their drives in the first half but the second half we came out and did a better job.
“Overall, I think it was a very good team defensive effort.”
Junior forward Kianna Wynne had 19 points and seven rebounds while senior guard Karma Dean had 11 rebounds and freshman center Shanika Peterkin pulled down 10 boards. Barton commanded a 52-42 advantage on the glass.
The Lady Bulldogs play their final regular-season home game Saturday when they host Southern Wesleyan at 2 p.m. Barton then goes on the road for six games to end the regular season but the Lady Bulldogs will have a sense of confidence after finally beating Limestone.
“We just proved what we’ve been talking about all year — if we play well and put forth the effort we can beat anybody,” Saintsing said.