WILSON, N.C. --- The Barton College women's basketball team escaped with a narrow 67-66 win over visiting Lees-McRae College on Saturday evening in Conference Carolinas play, claiming the victory on a late jumper by Jannetta Robinson in Wilson Gym.
Lees-McRae (6-10, 2-8 CC) posted a field goal percentage of 41.8 percent on the night, including a 44 percent clip in the first half, while holding Barton (12-6, 7-2 CC) to a 34.4 percent mark from the floor. The Bobcats won the battle on the glass by a 44-36 margin, including a 30-19 advantage on the defensive boards, as Barton converted 22 Lees-McRae miscues into 23 points.
Freshman Kerri Belcher (Roanoke, Va.) poured in a career-high 18 points to pace the Bobcats, connecting on 6-of-11 attempts from the floor and going a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. Paige Whitaker (Harrisburg, N.C.) continued her strong play with 17 points and seven rebounds, knocking down 5-of-11 attempts from beyond the arc.
DeAnna Waters (Upper Marlboro, Md.) added 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds, while Icey Patterson (Seneca, S.C.) chipped in nine markers and a game-high five assists. Chloe Parker (Chicago, Ill.) also posted eight rebounds on the night.
Barton's Nyesha Willie led all scorers with 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including a 4-for-8 night from beyond the arc, as Janae Jackson and Robinson added 11 and 10 markers, respectively. Willie recorded a game-high eight steals for the Bulldogs, while Jackson and Shante Neal each recorded a team-best seven rebounds.
The Bobcats got off to a hot start in the first half, taking an early 12-4 lead on a pair of Belcher freebies before Barton answered with a 15-4 run, claiming a 19-16 advantage on a layup by Elaine Morgan at the 7:22 mark. Barton extended the margin to 23-18 on a Robinson free throw before the Bobcats closed out the half with an 8-2 run, taking a 26-25 lead into the intermission on a last-second layup by Candace Flowers (Charlotte, N.C.).
Lees-McRae carried the momentum into the second half, taking a 43-39 lead on a Whitaker triple at the 11:42 mark before Barton responded with a 14-2 run, claiming a 53-45 advantage following a Morgan layup with 8:57 to play. The Bobcats countered with a 15-8 spurt of their own, cutting the lead to 61-60 on a pair of free throws by Amber Coleman (Alexandria, Va.) with 3:14 to play.
The teams would exchange one-point leads over the next three possessions, with the Bulldogs snatching a 65-64 advantage on a pair of freebies by Faith Hunter at the 1:34 mark before Patterson fed Belcher for a textbook lay-in with 1:25 to play. Robinson responded for the Bulldogs with 23 seconds left, knocking down a tough jumper at the elbow to put Barton back on top, 67-66. The Bulldog defense shut the door on the corresponding possession, denying a shot attempt for the Bobcats before time expired.
Lees-McRae returns to the court on Wednesday, February 1 when the Bobcats travel to Belmont, N.C. to take on Belmont Abbey College in conference play at 5:30 p.m.
- LMC -