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Mired in the treachery of a five-game losing streak, the Barton College women’s basketball team entered Saturday afternoon’s NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas game with Emmanuel College as a team that has struggled to produce strong starts in the second half of games.
Junior Dinah Neal made sure that didn’t happen again against the Lady Lions.
Neal posted a game-high 24 points, including 11 in the third quarter as Barton turned a five-point lead at halftime into a 50-32 lead after three quarters en route to an easy 76-50 victory in Wilson Gym.
In posting their first Conference Carolinas win of the season, the Lady Bulldogs rose to 4-5 overall and 1-2 within the conference. Emmanuel, still ineligible for postseason play, dropped to 4-3 in all games and 2-2 in league play.
Barton, in leading from start to finish, played strong defense in particular during the first and third quarters. Emmanuel was held to just 18 percent from the field in the opening 10 minutes before the Lady Bulldogs’ defense and superior transition play squelched any Emmanuel hopes of a comeback in the third quarter.
“We talked about being focused,” Barton head coach Wendee Saintsing said of halftime. “Because we’ve had a tendency to come out of the locker room not focused. So I thought we did a really good job doing that.”
Barton finished 26 of 65 from the field for 40 percent accuracy, while holding Emmanuel to 32 percent shooting in each half. The Lady Lions were just 16 of 50 as Barton forced 24 turnovers. Freshman Shanika Peterkin, a 6-foot-2 center, pulled down 13 rebounds and registered five steals as the last line of defense against Emmanuel’s dribble penetration.
Emmanuel pulled within a single possession at 29-26 on Avery Scarbrough’s jumper. However, Barton’s defense and transition jump-started a 16-2 run that put the Lady Bulldogs in command the rest of the way.
“We usually don’t do too good coming out of halftime,” Neal said. “So Coach Saintsing got us right, a good talking to. And we knew exactly what we had to do. We had to bring a lot of energy coming out of the locker room.”
Barton’s lead crested at 28 on Neal’s layup with 5:08 remaining.
Senior Karimah Dean had 16 points on 8-of-15 shooting, while classmate Alex Kimble tossed in 11 points despite a difficult 2-for-17 showing from the field. Barton turned it over just 12 times and held Emmanuel to just 10 assists on its 16 field goals.
Mikayla Trombley led Emmanuel with 11 points as the only Lady Lion in double figures.
Barton remains at home next Saturday as it plays host to Converse College.