Lady Bulldogs draw SE No. 6 seed, will face North Georgia

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The Barton women’s basketball team, on the heels of its Conference Carolinas tournament championship Friday night, learned Sunday night that it will be headed to Jefferson City, Tennessee, this week.

The Lady Bulldogs are one of eight teams to play in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional, hosted by top-seed Carson-Newman. Barton (23-8), the No. 6 seed, will take on No. 3 North Georgia (27-4), the Peach Belt Conference regular-season and tournament champions, in the quarterfinals, Friday, March 9. This will be Barton’s first NCAA appearance since 2013.

“We played them once, so we know what to expect so I guess that’s a good thing,” Barton head coach Wendee Saintsing said of the Nighthawks, who handed the Lady Bulldogs a 75-49 defeat in their North Georgia Classic in Dahlonega, Georgia, way back on Nov. 18. However, North Georgia might not know what to expect from Barton considering that senior Karimah Dean and junior Kianna Wynn, who was named the Conference Carolinas tournament Most Outstanding Player, were not in uniform then.

Saintsing said she expected the Lady Bulldogs would received a No. 5 or 6 seed, but didn’t think Limestone, Barton’s Conference Carolinas mate and regular-season champion, would get a higher seed. The Saints (23-5) picked up the No. 5 seed and will oppose Lander (24-7), Peach Belt regular-season and tourney runner-up, in the quarterfinals.

“I’m just a little bit disappointed that Limestone is above us,” said Saintsing.

Limestone, which lost at Barton and beat the Lady Bulldogs at home, was upset by No. 8 North Greenville in the first round of the Conference Carolinas tournament.

However, Saintsing, who got career win No. 500 Friday in the tournament final win against King, said of their seeding: “The kids are happy with it and if they are, I am!”

Barton hasn’t played in an NCAA regional game since 2013 when it lost to Limestone in the first round. The Lady Bulldogs haven’t won a regional game since 2011 when they beat Georgia College in the first round before falling to regional host and top seed Clayton St.

Saintsing hopes these Lady Bulldogs will get and extended stay in Tennessee.

“I feel good about the way we played Friday night. I feel like we played the best game we have all year and that’s what you want this time of year,” she Said. “I’m just excited to see what we can do.”

The other quarterfinals matchups are South Atlantic Conference champion Carson-Newman (29-2) versus No. 8 Anderson (20-10), the third-place team in the SAC, and No. 2 Wingate (25-5), the SAC runner-up, versus Columbus State (19-9), the No. 3 team in the Peach Belt.

Starting times for Southeast Regional games will be announced later in the week.