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There was no truth to the rumor that the Barton College women’s basketball team, brick by brick, built the Bulldogs’ future football stadium with its shooting performance in the first half of Saturday’s Conference Carolinas game with Erskine College.
The Lady Bulldogs shot just 22.9 percent from the field in the first half and trailed by as many as seven points in the second quarter as the defense struggled to establish consistency.
But then, the inside combo of senior Kianna Wynn and sophomore Shanika Peterkin took effect in the second half.
Wynn had 18 of Barton’s 23 third-quarter points on her way to a career-high 38, and Peterkin blocked eight shots while pulling down 19 rebounds in a 64-47 victory.
Barton improved to 9-2 overall and evened its conference record at 2-2, while Erskine stumbled to 2-8. The Flying Fleet are winless through three league games.
“We’re just having trouble getting the ball in the basket,” veteran Barton head coach Wendee Saintsing said. “But we did a better job in the second half and did a better job getting the ball where it needed to be. Picking up our defensive intensity was the main thing. Defensively, we just didn’t play very well the first half and we know that we’ve got to do a better job getting our identity back as far as our defense is concerned. That’s why we lost the last two games.”
Despite Wynn’s second-half takeover, Barton only connected on 22 of 70 shots for 31.4 percent accuracy. But the Flying Fleet took a tumble after halftime as they finished with a 19-of-62 showing from the floor. That was only sufficient for a 30.6-percent clip.
Wynn, who established herself in the paint and in transition after halftime, had a double-double with her career-high 38. She pulled down 10 rebounds and constructed her output on 15-of-24 shooting. That included an 8-for-11 effort from the foul line as Wynn made and attempted more foul shots than the Flying Fleet combined (7 for 10).
Barton trailed 25-23 at halftime. From a 31-31 third-quarter tie, a 15-6 Wynn-fueled spurt gave the Lady Bulldogs a nine-point lead entering the fourth quarter. Halftime didn’t involve schematic adjustments from the Lady Bulldogs.
“We had to get back out there and have intensity, play as a team and play as one, get everybody up and in the game,” Wynn said. “The cheering on the bench in the second half definitely put the intensity up.”
Peterkin, who entered play as the No. 2 shot blocker in all of NCAA Division II behind Merrimack’s Denia Davis-Stewart, had four blocks in each half to run her season total to 50. She had to briefly leave the floor in the fourth quarter, but returned. Erskine cut the Barton lead to seven on two occasions in the second half, the latter coming with 5:13 remaining.
But junior Summer Baer knocked down a 3-pointer at the 3:59 mark, and that launched an 11-1 Barton spurt to close play. The 17-point margin of victory was the Lady Bulldogs’ largest lead.
“They’re so good at the four and the five and their post players are so strong and dominant,” second-year Erskine head coach Shannon Reid said. “They’re some of the best posts we have in our league, and they’re very efficient. It really wears your posts down. I think our posts got a little frustrated that they couldn’t score inside against their length, and it forced us to stop doubling. That was the game plan, to double and drop. We missed our assignments a couple of times, but I thought they did a great job of the touches they got, they were very efficient.”
Barton, which finished with 18 assists, picked up six assists each from senior Dinah Neal and freshman Akira Wiggins. Off the bench, Wiggins was 3 for 7 from 3-point range and had 11 points in 29 minutes. For Erskine, Kelsey Felks was the only player in double figures with 14 points.
The Lady Bulldogs take the floor for the seventh game of their eight-game homestand Monday against Converse College.