by Kevin Buczek
BRISTOL, Tenn.-Senior center Janae Jackson scored a game-high 12 points in leading the Barton College women's basketball team to a 54-43 Conference Carolinas win at King College on Saturday evening.
Despite shooting a season-low 27.3-percent from the floor, the Lady Bulldogs were able to steal a ninth consecutive win with 19 thefts. Barton (14-4 Overall, 13-1 Conf.) remained tied with Limestone College for first place in the league standings after the Saints avenged their only conference loss with a home win against Queens University of Charlotte on Saturday.
Barton was held to just 54 points for a second straight game but the Lady Bulldogs won the battle of the backboards, 53-43, and committed eight less turnovers, 22-14, while holding the Tornado to just 25.9% shooting to come out on top.
Barton entered February ranked third in the nation in turnover margin and sixth nationally in steals per game.
Jackson scored eight of her game-high 12 points in the first half as Barton led for nearly the whole contest. Senior guard Elaine Morgan swished 10 points and junior guard Nyeshea Willie and senior forward Shante both bucketed eight points.
Morgan and Neal each toyed with double-doubles with nine and eight rebounds, respectively. Morgan and Neal both swiped five steals to lead the Lady Bulldogs aggressive defense.
King held an initial 1-0 lead on a made free throw but a pair of fast break layups by Willie and Morgan put Barton ahead for the final 37 minutes. The Lady Bulldogs scored all 12 of the games fast break points.
A pair of made free throws by senior Ashley Crumel extended the visitors first-half advantage to 17 points but two King hoops in the final minute cut the Tornado deficit to 27-14 at halftime. King was held to just 4-of-20 (20%) accuracy in the first half with two of its four baskets coming in the last 60 seconds.
The Tornado kept gaining momentum with the first six points of the second half to pull within seven, 27-20.
Barton responded with a 21-4 surge over the next 13 minutes to put the game away. Willie capped the run with four consecutive points as the Lady Bulldogs took a 24 point cushion into the last five minutes by doubling up the hosts score, 48-24. King closed the game with a 19-6 rally but Barton kept a double figure lead throughout that span.
Tia Kiett led King with 11 points. Stephanie Brantley added 10 points and Bonnie Durrett supplied a game-high 12 rebounds.
Barton will be going for a 10th straight Conference Carolinas win when the Lady Bulldogs close out a three-game road swing at Coker College on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.